Australia – Point PTP Sprint

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This play was run by Australia in the Olympics and then diagrammed and contributed by Wes Kosel to the FastModel Sports Basketball Plays and Drills Library.

You can also find out more about FastModel Play Diagramming software by clicking this link: FastDraw

Wes Kosel is an assistant men’s coach at Augustana University

You might not want to use the plays that I post in their entirety, but my hope is that you can take parts of the plays and use them where they fit for your system.

This is what Coach Kosel said about the play:

Australia uses a pick the picker action in this play with a cross screen / down screen combination. If nothing is there, the big sprints out to set a ball screen.

australia1

 

1 dribbles off of a high ball screen from 5.

2 screens for 4.

5 rolls into a down screen for 2.

1 passes to 2.

 

 

 

australia2

 

4 sprints out to set a ball screen for 2.

 

 

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Princeton Offense

What Will Eddie Jordan’s Princeton Offense Look Like With the Lakers?

 

Eddie JordanWhen reports of the Lakers and Mike Brown adding Eddie Jordan to their coaching staff surfaced, two questions came to mind: (1) Will Jordan bring the Princeton offense with him, and (2) how effective will it be with the Los Angeles Lakers? The first part of that question was answered rather quickly by Brown, who toldMarc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports that the Lakers plan on mixing in the Princeton offense: “We’re still going to do a lot of stuff we did last year. We’re just incorporating some of the Princeton stuff.”

It wasn’t just Mike Brown who wanted Eddie Jordan. According to Adrian Wojnarwoski the Princeton offense is something that Kobe Bryant wants to see the Lakers run as well. So with the Lakers’ head coach and star player both endorsing the new system’s arrival, we can assume it’s going to be a major part of the Lakers’ offensive playbook next season.

Before we look at whether or not the Princeton offense fits with the Lakers’ roster, we should explain what it is. For that, let’s go to the man himself. Here’s Eddie Jordan explaining the basics of the Princeton offense on NBATV.

It’s great to see Princeton offense explained by the NBA coach who has kept it relevant this decade, but in the end it’s just five guys in suits and work clothes explaining it in a TV studio with no defense. A better way to experience the Jordan variation on the system is to sit back and watch one of his former teams running it. Here is a look at a few different possessions of the ’05-06, Jordan-coached Washington Wizards.

After watching the two above clips and then watching tape on it, two things come to mind: (1) spots and (2) off-ball movement. By spots, I mean positions on the floor that each player is responsible to get to before the offensive set starts. This is the key to spacing. If you start too close together, the offense isn’t going to be nearly as effective. After everyone gets to his spot, the next key is the movement off the ball, which is helped by the fantastic spacing due to the positioning/spots. The result? Quick passes from side to side combined with sharp cuts, causing confusion for the defense, creating open looks or mismatches for the offense.

For the Lakers and their fans, the question is how this style of offense fits in with their high-profile roster. I think there’s reason to get excited here. The Princeton offense does things to complement each player’s skill set, putting them in positions to succeed. Here’s a breakdown.

HOW IT HELPS PAU GASOL AND DWIGHT HOWARD

What’s the first option Eddie Jordan talked about when explaining his offense to NBATV? A look into the center. In this offense, most post touches come early, with a big posting up being the first look. The most important thing to look at is the spacing once the ball gets delivered into the post.

Look at the time and the space that Washington’s post players have when they make the catch down low. Sure, you could say that teams shouldn’t be double-teaming these bigs, but this has a lot more to do with spacing and off-ball movement. That can be duplicated in Los Angeles — even more so when you consider the fact that you have guys like Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant working off of the ball, setting screens, and cutting. You can’t leave those guys open, and that takes the defense’s attention away from the post, screwing up the timing of doubles, even to the point that they might stop coming. For Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, that’s a dream come true.

HOW IT HELPS STEVE NASH

On the surface, it doesn’t seem that the Princeton offense will help Steve Nash. He’s a guy who needs the basketball in his hands, and the Princeton offense relies on the circulation of the ball. It also sends cutters (including the point guard) every which way. However, when you take a deeper look, you can find spots where the system could help Nash, and maybe the biggest reason why it does is because it provides the veteran with an incredible amount of space in pick-and-roll situations.

Gilbert Arenas and Steve Nash don’t play the pick-and-roll the same way. Not even close. But that isn’t what we are focused on here. What we are talking about is the spacing when the ball screen is used. If it’s a high ball screen, you have two guys in the corner and one spaced out on the opposite wing. If it’s on the side (which usually happens when the big tries to post up, doesn’t get the basketball, then comes up and sets a ball screen), you have the three other players spaced out on the opposite side of the court. In both instances you have these ball screens being set as there is other action taking place off of the ball. So not only do you have this fantastic spacing making it difficult to help on the pick-and-roll, but you have all of this action off of the ball occupying the defense’s attention. Imagine what Steve Nash can do with this space as Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol sets screens for him.

HOW IT HELPS KOBE

Finally, we get to Kobe Bryant. There is a reason why he pushed so hard for Eddie Jordan to join the Lakers, and that’s because the Princeton offense makes life much easier for him. For all of the movement, cutting, and passing, Jordan’s system in Washington created a lot of isolation opportunities for Gilbert Arenas. Kobe Bryant can fill that role.

Bryant will be able to take advantage of iso’s based off of the Princeton offense’s positioning and movement. In the first clip, you see everyone in their spot as Arenas brings up the basketball (I think when the Lakers run the Princeton offense, Bryant and Nash will split ballhandling duties). Everyone sets up in their spots and the initial look is in the post. Arenas’s man backs off of him and he is able to take advantage by diving to the rim.

Something else Eddie Jordan’s offense will do for Kobe Bryant? It will give him opportunities to post his man up. In Washington, both Caron Butler and Arenas got post touches. When Bryant has a mismatch, Jordan can replicate the sets he used in D.C. to get the ball to Bryant in the post.

The most important thing to take into consideration when looking at these clips is the space that Butler and Arenas have due to the positioning of the rest of the offense. If Kobe is feeling it and getting post touches, the defense is going to want to send double teams. Where are those double teams going to come from? When executed correctly, the spacing is so good on these post touches that whoever is responsible for the double team won’t get there in time, allowing Bryant to work one-on-one on the block, creating clean looks.

In my opinion, the Lakers are going to start running bits and pieces of this offense here and there in the early days of next season, working it in slowly. However, once the Lakers see how successful this offense is, and I do believe that it will be extremely successful, they will incorporate it more and more and you will see them running it at a high rate. I just think that an offense like this complements everyone on this team’s skill set, allowing each player to have success with a particular aspect of it.

Princeton Offense

On the Offensive: Inside the Wizards “Princeton Offense”

Note: With the Wizards on a roll offensively (116.9 ppg in December; overall ranked 3rd in the NBA with 107.8 ppg), we thought now was a good time to go online with this article on Eddie Jordan and the Princeton Offense. – Ed

Eddie Jordan calls for his team to run one of the many offenive options (which is an understatement) available.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images


It’s a scene that happens every day in all kinds of offices. Co-workers get together and brain storm and talk about ideas. In the summer of 2001, it happened in New Jersey in the office of some prominent basketball coaches.The Nets were coming off their first season under the direction of head coach Byron Scott. He and his assistant coaches, including Eddie Jordan and Mike O’Koren, are discussing ways to improve on a 26-56 season. It is August and training camp is just a round the corner and they are excited about the addition of All-Star point guard Jason Kidd.

The discussion is about their offense and they talk about what they have done in the past and what they want to do in the upcoming season when Jordan brings up the “Princeton Offense“. Scott, who coached with Jordan in Sacramento is receptive and suggests they go to the practice facility and bring it to life.

So the five Nets coaches get on the floor, and with Jordan serving as the choreographer they run through the motions of the “Princeton Offense”. They are in their office now, but suddenly it is not just another day at the office.

“During the course of the 5-on-0 with the coaches Byron got a lot of shots. You know he was a shooter when he played with the Lakers, so he loved it,” O’Koren recalled with a smile. “He said ‘this is great. We can get shots for these guys here, and we can shots for these guys there.’ Byron really liked it and the rest is history.”

So Scott gave Jordan full permission to implement the offense with the Nets. It worked. The Nets finished 13th in scoring in the NBA (96.2) but had five starters average in double figures. They went all the way to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Lakers, but in one season they had gone from Eastern Conference doormat to NBA title contender.

At the time Scott told Sports Illustrated: “The Princeton offense is old-style basketball. Dribble, pass and shoot. I always thought it’s the way the game was supposed to be played.”

In the summer of 2003, the Wizards joined the Ivy League when Jordan was hired as head coach. Jordan brought the Princeton offense with him. Like the buzz created in New Jersey, there was genuine excitement back in Washington.

The numbers tell part of the story. Since Jordan arrived, the Wizards have been ranked:

2003-04: 18th in the NBA in scoring (91.8 PPG)
2004-05: 6th in the NBA in scoring (100.5 PPG)
2005-06: 3rd in the NBA in scoring (101.7)

It is ironic that in the age of flying slam dunks and plays designed for highlight shows, an offense that stresses fundamentals is able to make a difference. It did and still does in New Jersey (under current Nets head coach Lawrence Frank) and now the gospel has been spread here to Washington.

HOW JORDAN BECAME A BELIEVER
It was in Sacramento that Jordan got religion. He was an assistant coach to Gary St. Jean, along with former Princeton coach Pete Carril. Carril stayed on when Jordan took over as head coach late in the 1996-97 season. He absorbed the offense from Carril and he became an ardent believer that an offense more than a half century old could make a difference in the modern NBA.

“Being an assistant under Peter Carril at Sacramento really helped me understand the offense. I feel like that I was fortunate to learn it from the ‘Master’ himself, instead of learning it second-hand. I received great lessons and learned about the origin of the offense,” Jordan recalled.

The weave may even go back further than Jordan thinks. According to the Princeton Alumni Weekly, it was Franklin “Cappy” Cappon that put the five-man weave offense in place when he was hired to coach the Tigers back in 1938. It’s been described as an offense that keeps all five players in motion with players handing the ball off above the key, in order to create open shots and lay-ups.

Jamison and Arenas run a variation of the offense’s “dribble hand-off”.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images


It is an offense that takes time to learn. Instead of fighting through defenses, players have to be conditioned to read defenses. They have to move without the ball and make back door cuts. The options seem endless which makes the learning curve gradual, but when mastered can leave opposing defenses puzzled.“The strength of the offense is about unselfishness and the fact that everyone touches the basketball,” said Jordan. “We can tweak the offense as much as you want to tweak it, but the truest sense of the offense is when everyone helps each other succeed, and it is unselfish as an offense as there is out there.”

“That is what attracted me to the offense. It has a lot of movement. Everyone feels they’re a part of the scoring process. Even though it is just one player scoring, the other four players played an integral role in helping with that process. We always say: ‘You play with your teammates and against the defense,” Jordan noted.

The offense is as much game plan as it is tradition now at Princeton. It may have started in 1938 with Cappy Cappon, but the coaches that followed at Princeton worked off his blueprint.

Butch van Breda Kolf, who once coached the Lakers in the NBA, was one of the coaches who enjoyed success with the weave offense at Princeton. Pete Carril replaced van Breda Kolf, and in his 28 years at the helm the Tigers earned a reputation as “giant killers” by running the weave that started in 1938.

Carril even did a video series to help explain the offense and he noted: “Offensive sets revolve around the ability of all players being able to read defensive pressure. The center and forward use defensive reads to receive and pass from both the high and low post-positions. Guards use defensive reads to determine whether to cut back door, spot up for a three point shot, or dribble penetrate.”

For Wizards forward Jarvis Hayes, it is all the ball movement that makes it great.

“There is never a point where things get stagnant or you feel like you are just standing around,” said Hayes. “There is always spots that you have to be in and when you have players like Gilbert (Arenas), Caron (Butler) and Antonio (Daniels) who can penetrate and that leaves guys like myself open to move without the ball.”

When it works it can be down right mesmerizing. Consider this account of the offense from the Daily Princetonian newspaper: “Seven passes in 16 seconds. Two curls, three hard cuts toward the hoop, one hand-off, two fadeouts to the three-point line. Finally, the possession ends with an open three-pointer touching nothing but net.”

Jordan goes over the team’s offensive strategy during a time out.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images


EXECUTING THE OFFENSE
The offense is different. The positions are different, or at least they are viewed in a different way. Basketball is usually thought of in terms of point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center.“It’s not one, two, three, four, five like most teams do. You have two guards, two forwards, and a center. The guards and forward spots are interchangeable, the center is the only position that is not,” noted O’Koren.

In fact what may get lost in understanding the Princeton offense is the critical role played by the center. It really starts with where the center is positioned. He could be down low on the block (in the post), at the elbow (by the foul line) or at the top of the key. In effect there are three different versions of the offense and then several sets that develop out of each version.

“The offense revolves around the center,” Jordan explained. “Now, whether he touches it a lot or doesn’t touch it at all, you still form your organization around the center. You find your center, and your center finds the ball, and everyone else sets up in the proper spots. The center can be in the low or high-post, or off the elbow. You can certainly run your offense through him or around him. We like to say: ‘If he is the main player, he is going to get more touches and he is going to be a passer as well as a scorer.”

To put it simply, it’s a chess match. The Wizards will see what the defense offers and than try and take advantage by using the multiple options that come out of every set.

“I think what stands out for me is that it is hard to stop one particular play,” Wizards forward Antawn Jamison emphasized. “In the Princeton offense, there are always counter attacks. If the defensive team takes away one thing, it then opens up another option and by doing that you always get quality shots.”

Hayes looks to make a backdoor pass to a cutting teammate. Frequent motion is the name of the game in Washington.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images


With so many options it is also a hard offense to defend.“It’s like the triangle offense in a way,” O’Koren added. “There are two ways to try and stop it: You either sag (back off) on it, so you don’t give up back door cuts, or you pressure it and get into the dribble hand offs.”

Ahh, the old back door cut. It is a play that is probably as old as the game itself. A player on the wing suddenly will move in towards the basket, receive a bounce pass from a guard on the perimeter, and often will find himself with no defenders between him and a lay up. It’s the favorite part of the Princeton offense for many players including a shooter like Jarvis Hayes.

“The back door cut is probably the most exciting play,” said Hayes. “Coaches often teach defenders to overplay the pass and get out and deny the lanes, and that opens up the possibility for an easy bucket.”

Also, in this age of zone defenses, the Princeton offense helps to create space on the floor. To try and negate a key player, a team can “load up” or put an extra defender at the foul line or down on the box on the side of the floor with the ball, and those players do not have to guard anyone as long as they are outside of the lane (per NBA zone rules).

Using this defensive strategy is a way to essentially create a defensive traffic jam. Because of the movement involved in the Princeton offense, it makes it difficult for opposing teams to “load up” on one particular guy. “

I have been in situations where it’s like you couldn’t move. With this offense there is space and there is always opportunity to get decent shots. That’s something that is rare in this game,” Jamison added.

The Princeton offense used to be rare in the NBA game. It has not taken over the league, but it has certainly made its mark in New Jersey and Washington. And in this business of basketball a mark is defined by post-season success.