I've followed the Orlando Magic off and on this season watching about 3 or 4 of their games so far. Most of the early pub has been on Boston, Cleveland and the Lakers, but I think the Magic are as good if not better. The Magic have what those other 2 teams in the East don't have, an absolute beast at the center position.

In several games, I was actually surprised at how infrequent Dwight Howard received the ball in the post. But that's a topic for another day. What I wanted to do was just to show how post position is the most important factor to post play. And when we're talking positioning, it's literally a matter of a few feet.

Some pictures to illustrate the point from their win over the Lakers a few nights ago. In these two sequences, Howard is able to establish position on the low block. In the second case, his pivot foot is inside the paint. That is ideally where you want your post player to start because from there, it is only 1 drop step away, or 1 jump stop away from a layin or jump hook,

In these two sequences, Howard receives the ball about two feet away from the low block. This forces him to reverse pivot, face up, then make a move to the basket. In the first sequence Howard passed back out. In the second sequence, Howard was able to draw a foul going baseline. Now, for a guy like Howard who has a face-up game, this may still be OK. But for many young posts I see who don't have that much of a face-up game, that just won't work.


Make sure you spend individual time with your forwards and centers so that they are practicing their footwork and getting proper position. The center position is probably where as a coach you'll need to spend the most time with esoteric instruction, because of the uniqueness of the skills. It's probably also the most underdeveloped because most kids start out as guards and by the time they get to Varsity and they're 6-foot-8 they're thrust into the role of a center and they lack the post fundamentals. It's always a fine line between teaching the complete game and when to specialize.

As for the Magic, they're biggest issue from what I've seen so far has been defensive consistency. At times, they are great 1v1 defenders, but then at times their effort falters and bail out with the foul.

For more post development video info, you can check out the post development drill package that goes with the Pitt 4-out 1-in motion offense, Jamie Dixon's DVD on Post Development Drills. Be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.