Via a recent edition of the weekly Xavier newsletter (which hopefully will continue under new head coach Chris Mack), the following is from Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown on their defensive rotations on ballscreens and traps:

Question to Coach Brown: What do you mean by saying 'I use the same rotations?'

Answer: Don’t rotate Big to Big. The positions 1-5 of the defensive players involved are irrelevant. We form 2 interceptors and a goal tender through the rotation. An example of a full rotation because of a ballscreen is shown. The teaching of this is consistent and the same from day one. Because of this, the players are interchangeable and accountable. The nearest defender rotates when a trap happens. When 'downing' a ballscreen, the nearest defender would rotate to the screener after the screen is set. Our defense treats all rotations the same. The closest man rotates.

The offense has a ballscreen scenario taking place. The defense is "downing" it. 2 dribbles away from the ballscreen because of X2's positioning.

X2 and X4 corner and contain 2. 2 passes to the ballscreener, 4. On the pass out to 4, X3 is the closest defender. He begins his rotation.

As 4 catches the pass, X3 closes out to 4, X1 rotates to 3, and X4 rotates out to the weakside. X5 stays at home in the post when possible.

Thinking philosophically about defense, I'm not sure if equal rotations regardless of position is always the best way. If you have a team of similarly skilled/talented players, this probably will work. But if you have a traditional team of tall slower forwards with smaller quicker guards, the mismatches could cause major problems. I'm not sure I agree with the accountability argument either. When you have same rotations, its easier for players to cop out of a rotation by claiming confusion. If you have set rotations (big on big), its easier to make players accountable, ie. you are a big, you must rotate to the other big.Either way, it's good to flush these things out on paper and experiment on what may or may not work before implementing in practice.

If you are a Bobcats fan or Coach Brown fan, take a look at Larry Brown's DVD on Secondary Break and Pick and Roll Offense. Discuss this and the rest of your favorite basketball topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.