How to teach the Basketball Equal Opportunity Offense: Method first, then the pattern
We have already looked at procedure used to get into the Easy Opportunity Offensive formation. The procedure for initiating this offense is as important as the pattern itself. You would be wise to spend as much time learning how to get into the formation as you do in practicing its cuts.
Take a look at the basic position of each player after the guard cuts through (see diagram 54). In this diagram, each player is numbered according to his movement. Player #1 is the first cutter, #2 will cut second, #3 will cut third, etc. Other than the fact we can trace them through the continuity, this is the reason I chose these numbers.
Number 1, the first cutter, must use good timing and creativity if he wants to get the jump lay-up. He must deliver a good sharp air-pass to #4. If he runs the route mechanically, he will never be open. He must use fakes, a change of pace and/or direction, good judgment and aggressiveness to get the ball right at the basket. The first cutter has several options that are determined by the defensive player’s reactions. As mentioned earlier, this is called, “reading the defense”. He can cut along the baseline off the second cutter’s screen (see diagram 55).
In most cases, you will find this to be his most useful cut; however, he can go over the top of #3, rubbing his man off on the stationary high-post player (see diagram 56).
Should he find the defense to be keeping one defender under the goal to take all first cutters, he can run a “pocket” maneuver to defeat this goal tending action by the defense (see diagram 57). Faking should be an automatic part of the first cutter’s movements.
Number 1, the first cutter, should arrive at a point just in front of the basket, and momentarily, come to a complete stop. He should raise both arms high and wide, making himself a good passer’s target, and calling for the ball. If he doesn’t immediately receive the ball, he steps out of the three-second lane (see diagram 58).
The baseline cut should be used when the defense is switching. Whenever the defense switches, good execution by #1, the first cutter and #2, his screener will always get a good open shot in a high percentage area. If the defender turns his head toward the baseline and fighting the screen, #1 should go over the top to the elbow (pocket position). This route should be taken occasionally when the defense is using shifting tactics. The “Pocket” maneuver is the best way to defeat switching tactics (see diagram 59).
The first cutter simply shouts, “pocket!”, and cuts over the top to the elbow, the second cutter’s position. The screener opens-up to the ball, and rolls to the basket, taking the first cutters normal route. Back in 1964, when we started using this, we thought it would bring a lay-up. It does occasionally; however, the best shot is at the free throw line and is taken by the first cutter. Please notice how he gets a double screen for an almost straight line cut and must be guarded by a defender floating deep under the goal (see diagram 60).
The first cutter has one more option that you will rarely use in a season. This option is needed when the defender on #3 body-checks on the cut over the top. In that case, the first cutter and #3 execute a “pocket” maneuver, letting #3 roll under the basket and #1 go to the elbow, the second cutter’s spot. The second cutter rolls out to the high post, taking #3’s place (see diagram 61).
The screener should keep low, arms at his side, taking a wide stance and making his screen as wide as possible. He should keep this stance until the first cutter has cleared by him, either down the baseline or over the top. After the first cutter has cleared, the second cutter should cut quickly and close to #3 over the top to the elbow high post position, looking for a jump shot. If he doesn’t get the ball, he becomes the subsequent #3 player on that side of the free throw lane (see diagram 62).
The second cutter gets his shot at the elbow as the result of good close cutting on his part and a good head hunting screen by #4 screening down the middle. The second cutter, if open, should take his shot as soon as the ball hits his hand. If he is not open, he prepares for the continuity. He does not have time to fake and certainly will not have room to drive to the basket.
If #2 does not get the ball, he moves into position on the side of the free throw lane as the high post player (see diagram 63). He takes a position about 2 feet lower than the free throw line. He gets low and wide so as to make a wide screen for the first cutter coming back around on the continuity. He faces the ball at all times.
On the continuity, he runs the #3 cut. #3’s task is simple as he doesn’t have all the things to react to as do the first two cutters. Number 3 waits until the second cutter has cleared by him across the lane. He then fakes toward the goal and cuts outside to the perimeter as illustrated in diagram 63.
If the first cutter yells, “pocket!” as he cuts by, #3 will roll the basket fast (see diagram 64).
He then becomes the #2 player in the continuity; however, do not use this maneuver frequently. Use it only enough to make the fake toward the basket more plausible so that his basic job is to break himself free for the outlet pass from #5 (see diagram 65).
If his man floats off him, he should take a shot. If his man overplays him, and he is still able to get the ball, he should drive right down the middle of the lane for a lay-up (see diagram 66).
Should the third cutter be overplayed and cannot receive a pass, he then turns and sets a down screen for #4 thus executing a high-low interchange as illustrated in diagram 67.
As illustrated in diagram 68, after receiving the ball, #3 becomes the #4 player in the system. (This is an arbitrary matter, created by the need for a numbering system for teaching purposes.) If he cannot shoot, or drive, he faces the basket and delivers the ball to #5 using an air-pass. The air pass is used by #1 and #3 so that the two passes from wing-to-point-to-wing is made quickly and before the first cutter arrives at the basket. Bounce passes are slower and more easily intercepted in these two situations; however, bounce passes are appropriate in other situations quite frequently.
After passing the ball to #5 at the wing, #4 automatically becomes the #5 player in the system. To become the #5 player, he screens down the middle of the lane and turns facing opposite the ball and looks for the defender guarding the second cutter (see diagram 69).
He should be a real head-hunter on the movement if the second cutter is to be open with any consistency. He steps out of the three-second lane and gets ready to break sharply up and out to receive the ball at the left wing (see diagram 70.
He should really break out. This pass can be intercepted if he does not work to receive the ball and time his movement to be there as the ball moves from wing-to-point-to him. At this position in the system, he becomes the first cutter, going back to the other side of the court on the continuity (see diagram 71).
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