From over in Germany on Tuesday, a wild start to the preseason game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Washington Wizards. The Hornets went on a 19-0 run to start the game and never looked back. Didn't look like the Wizards started their usual players so that might be the main reason, but still no excuse to play so badly early on.

Carrying over from last year, Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler still look as deadly as ever in the PNR. If opposing teams don't have a prepared plan on defending the PNR, it will be a long night like the Wizards experienced here in Germany. Just as an aside, I love the German commentators, so much more animated than our commentators, "so schnell", enjoy...

Reading Ball Screens:

One of the things that can frustrate coaches sometimes is when players can't make decisions on their own. I think a lot of that has to do with when players become so accustomed to running plays that they forget how to just play basketball. When a ball-screen is set, you don't have to follow the screen. It is just as effective sometimes (especially when the defender can detect the screen coming), to fake towards the screen then crossover and attack the open side,

After CP3 beats his defender, he reads the defense. In this case, the Wizards played a soft switch, the switched defender is playing CP3 soft attempting to protect against the dribble drive. On reading this, CP3 makes the right play and pulls up for the jumper,

Defending against the Roll:

If you're playing defense against the PNR, you must have a strategy on the backend, especially if you trap, hedge or hard switch. Leaving the basket undefended is a bad idea. First off, the ball-screen is set by Chandler and CP3 drives off it,

CP3 reads the slip and the switch as Chandler rolls to the basket. Watch how the defender on the weak side does not react to the ball at all. IMO, you must have a weak-side defender ready to protect the basket and force CP3 to either shoot the ball, try to drive into traffic, or pass out of the paint,


I don't think the Wizards are 19-0 bad in the regular season. I realize they didn't play their regulars, but they definitely looked lost out there. As for the Hornets, they look rolling as usual. Obviously the major factor will be if both CP3 and Chandler can stay healthy and rested for the whole season. The beauty in the PNR is not really in the play itself but in its execution and CP3 and Chandler at this point execute it better than anyone else in the league.

For more video info on ball-screening, take a look at Todd Kowalczyk's DVD on the Attacking Ball Screen. Coach Kowalczyk is the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.