Though I've said before, I don't intend to use this blog to hype people, I will however show some love to guys that are unsung heroes of their team, or the underrated players. Jason Maxiell is that kind of guy, a blue collar player that does all the dirty work. On offense, he sets picks and rebounds. On defense, he defends guys often much bigger than his 6-foot-7 body and boxes them out. He epitomizes what you want in a utility player, does a little bit of everything and his play and attitude are one of the reasons why the Detroit Pistons are doing so well and on a 10 game winning streak right now.

In this sequence, Maxiell does a great job defending his new much bigger check after the switch. He fronts the post, then gets back into box out position for the team rebound. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

One of the byproducts of being a straight M2M defense team is individual accountability. M2M defense is great at teaching young people values not just basketball skill. You're teaching life lessons. Each player is responsible for his man and by not defending your man properly, you let down yourself and your teammates. This all comes together when switching on picks.

I hear it alot from players. "Oh coach, it's not my fault, we switched and so I was waiting for help side defense." On the switch, you are still responsible for defending your new check 1v1. It doesn't matter that the new check is 1 foot taller, or 2 steps quicker, you still have that responsibility. Now, as a team, your teammates have a responsibility to provide help (which Rasheed Wallace does), but ultimately you are still responsible for stopping your new check, period.

As a drill, what I like to do is to matchup different players in a 1v1 drill. So, a forward guarding a PG on the perimeter, or a PG guarding a forward in the post. To be a good M2M team, your players need to be comfortable guarding different players in different positions, as switches will happen. This will both improve the skills that they lack (footspeed, strength) and also to use their strength to their advantage when defending. Do not let your players use the excuse of "the switch" for poor defense, demand accountability.

A great DVD that breaks down the M2M fundamentals is Geno Auriemma's 8 Essential Defensive Drills DVD. Coach Auriemma is the head coach of multiple national championship winning lady Huskies of UConn. Head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss all of your hoops.