NBA offenses and the Princeton offense.

As we have now hired a GM, finished draft day, nearly done with free agency, and are mid way through summer league. The next thing on the list to-do’s is to hire a coach. While NO has been interviewing a long extensive list candidates, we can only hypothesis the type of offensive system the coach will use. With that, we should be looking into all the offensive schemes that are available.

There are a number of different offenses that can be used. There is the Motion offense, the set offenses, the read and react offense, the triangle, pick n’ roll, Princeton offense, patterned offense, and the zone offense. I learned a lot of this stuff from when I coached and was using coachesclipboard and still own the books I got. I am taking common but general knowledge out of the books for the sake to not make any mistakes. Though we all most likely know these offenses and how they run, it is much harder to discuss them properly without making a mistake while explaining them.

(Sorry for the length now. it is very thorough, and gives you a lot of knowledge that I’m sure will be appreciated and make for a good discussion once you have digested it all)

The motion offense teachers players how to play and how to read the defense. It is not a set offense. There are numerous types of motion offenses, the most common being:

3-out, 2-in motion offense

4-out, 1-in motion offense

dribble-drive motion offense

5-out open-post motion offense

The 3-out, 2-in uses court balance with 3 players out on the perimeter and two post players. Pretty basic stuff.

The 4-out, 1-in motion offense would be used for a team with good outside shooting ability and playmakers, which lack a post player. This offense allows for open lanes for the guards and wings to penetrate and getting some good 3 point looks. You give up though an inside presence and offensive rebounding.

The dribble drive motion offense is a lot like the 4-out, 1-in motion offense. It has a guard who drives and then kicks it out for the 3 point shot.

The 5-out open-post motion offense is for a team that has no strong inside post player, but has good perimeter players. Not ever going to get into this one.

The set offenses feature:

1-3-1 offense

1-4 stack offense

4-corners delay offense

2-1-2 high post offense

The 1-3-1 is easy to learn and basic. It has 3 perimeter players, a high post, and a low post. You often see Portland featuring this offense with point guard bringing up the ball, Wesley and batum on the wings, LA at the high post, and the center at the low post.

The 1-4 stack is set up as to both post players are set up at the free throw line on the elbows. Thus having no low post presence allows for ample back cuts and penetration. There is also the low set of this where the post players are featured on the block.

The 4-corner delay is used to delay and run time off the clock, spreading the court, all the while looking for the easy lay up.

The 2-1-2 high post is excellent if you have a great PF who can shoot from the high post or take the ball to the hoop. The PF can also be a screener and you don’t need a great PG for this offense. This offense has 4 players out on the perimeter and one player at the free throw line/paint.

The triangle offense (a lot of internet searching to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes as this is a very complicated offense, thank you Wikipedia though you are not a credible source says the man)

The triangle is created from a post player on the strong-side block, the strong-side corner, and the extended strong-side wing, who gains possession on the first pass.
The first option is to pass it to the strong side post on the block, who is on a good scoring position. From there the players have the options to score or pass to the perimeter while players switch from strong side corner and wing. A cut down the lane, or an opposite wing going to the top which initiates the pinch post.

If you cannot pass it to the block, the second option is to pass to the weak-side guard who goes to top of the key from the weak-side wing position or passing to the strong-side corner. If it passes to the corner the options are to shoot, pass to the strong side post or pass to the wing player.

If the wing side guard gets the ball, he passes to the forward at the elbow. From here, the forward can hand it off, pass for a back door cut to the guard, post up, or face up and attack. The other option from the elbow is your standard pick n roll. We all understand a pick n roll hopefully by now if we are on here, so I won’t go into detail of the advantages and disadvantages. While all this occurring, the wing sets a pick for the guard on the corner for hopefully the open hand off, it that’s not available the screener-who is now on the corner- is available for the shot. If the defense overplays, both wings and guards can back cut to the basket. During all of this time the original strong-side post player establishes position for an easy shot while the defender is distracted by all of the movement and cutting by the other players.

If the strong side passes to the guard is not an option. The third option is for the weak side forward to go to the strong side elbow, receive the pass, and go backdoor. While the wing and corner guard switch on the down screen. The forward can now pass to the cutter or shoot himself.

The Princeton offense: (Youtube clips, nba channel, and hoopedia)

The Princeton offense is a 5-part play that works well against man and zone. It takes typically 15 seconds to run, and the goal is to break down the defense because of a “lack of discipline”. This system was not created to make nonathletic players play against more athletic players. There are many isos and ball screens. If they had to play against a more athletic team, the plays would break down. So this offense would be terrible for say the Celtics (old and slow) against Miami (super-power athletic).

Part 1: the offense enters through the high post and over the top cut on the strong side. Everything goes through the high post and down screens. So it is essential to have a good passing big men! This has been happening with Babbit(as he is playing PF in summer league), but then he screws up and tries to drive. Turning it over instead.

Part 2: Ball screening. While 9/10ths of the time the guy holding the ball with try to break his defender down by faking towards the screen and going the opposite direction (something we saw lillard do often in his 1st game) The goal is to lead to an open lay-up or kick it across the court to the open 3. There are no dribble drives and a very small amount of the mid range game. This second part has reminded me of Lillards play all through summer league so far. He takes the screen. Drives-looking for the lay up. Or he passes across the court to the three man.

Part 3: This part involves the guards posting up on the other guards. Guards often times do not know how to defend a post up, nor a very good at it often times, especially now with the hand check rule. In the Princeton offense, all guards are taught to shoot hook shots off the post. We have seen Barton trying to post up, but he is out of control with his post ups. Wesley did this in his 1st game for us too.

Part 4: every player is able to shoot the three pointers. Lillard, Nolan, babbit, and barton(supposedly) can all hit the three. 4/5 of the guys can shoot that are on the floor for us.

Part 5: This part doesn’t involve the offense, it’s the defense or a matchup zone. The players are all taught about the defenders tendencies. They all know how to defend each play the opponent will attempt. The conception of ball control and a slow down game that are associated with this offense are actually due to its defense. Struggling offensive players try to make up for it on the defense. Yea that’s not really happening in these summer league games. Oops.

I just thought it was interesting to note I saw the comparisons between how we have been playing in our summer league with this offense. Not saying we are running the Princeton offense, just thought it was noteworthy.

The pick n’ roll offense and read n’ react offense are pretty obvious so I won’t be explaining those.

Patterned offenses: (coachesclipboard books)

shuffle offense

flex offense

This is an offense that relies of continuity of continuous flow from side to side. Teams that don’t have a strong inside player are good for this offense as players are interchangeable, leading to mismatches.

After looking at all the potential systems we could play within, its easy to exclude one’s in which are meant for a team without a post presence. As we have Lamarcus Aldridge. So a good offense for us would include either the 3-out, 2-in motion offense, the 4-out, 1-in motion offense, the 1-3-1 offense, the 2-1-2 high post offense. Though what are line ups predict is we would be best with the Princeton offense.

Honestly, I think its risky to use this offense because of how athletic other teams can be, and it relies on good defense to stimulate good offense. Though with Wesley, Nic, and LA who are all solid defenders. It’s not too bad. I’m merely afraid of the defensive liability of lillard who tends to look the other way on offense and gets lost, and the jumping leonard. Both rookies, who will learn! However they are rookies nonetheless.

We know nothing of claver/freeland defense but we will see them come Olympics. So watch for them and pay attention to how they play!

Barton, Nolan and Ewill are both rookies to me and still have a lot of growing pains.

Hickson has been great and energetic on offense, but defense is still a suspect. Love his energy though.

We got those new guys (Dan, who just got waived, and Jared) in the trade with the knicks, I don’t think they’ll get too many minutes. I could be wrong. Luke babbit should be sent to the D-League. I guess the price was right for Ronnie price.

So lets look at who will actually get minutes now!

PG: Lillard/ Smith

SG: Wesley/ E will

SF Nic/Claver

PF: Lamarcus/J.J/Joel

Center: Joel freeland/Leonard/J.J./LA

Claver, J.J. Joel can all play the PF but I put them where they are mostly likely to get minutes. And center is practically up for grabs. Heck, we could play each guy for 11 minutes at the center. We are just filling in a hole in our roster.

Our back-up guards are still weak though but I’m hoping for improvement just from what I have seen from Nolan this summer league and E. Will last year. Nic can move to SG if we really need to.

So lets talk about our players and the Princeton offense now.

Part one: the offense would go through Lamarcus, Joel, or J.J. Okay we are starting out good here! We got the ball to the high post. And all of our guards and wings are decent slashers and cutters I have been lead to believe. Awesome we made past Part 1!

Part two: Lillard has been going opposite of the screen all summer league and has been looking good when the lay up is there, giving it the roller or kicking it across the court! I believe nic could as well do this given what we have seen in his euro games once he is given the ball and has the green light to dribble and be aggressive etc. I am suspect of Wesley dribbling and passing to the open man. He can’t finish at the rim still. But is good at creating contact, and his passing is ehh. So 2 out of three isn’t bad. We made it pass part two.

Part three: The guards can all post up and shoot a hook. Wesley I know can post up but he just can’t get that ball through the hoop. Nic tries but needs work. When he is confident in himself though, I have seen him try it and is close to it. Lillard could probably do it, truth be told. He can do it all it seems. So we ran into problems with part 3, but not bad and hook shot can be a little easier to learn then others moves. There is hope! But we didn’t pass part 3.

Part 4: All players who I mentioned in the starting 5 and the next 5 can all shoot the three except for Leonard and J.J. Maybe J.J. can and he just hasn’t shown that trick. Maybe Leonard can with how well he did from the free throw line so far. And I’m assuming LA can with how consistent he is from 18ft. We pass part 4!

Part 5: Defense! So three out five can play defense, the rookie is a rookie and have no idea about how the euro does. So we just inch by here as long as babbit is never on the floor.

In conclusion, the Princeton offense would bring out the best in all players and their talents. Lillard would look like a stud. Lamarcus’s usage rate would go up so hopefully his stats would too. Wesley doesn’t have to create for himself so much in this offense, though he can if he needs/wants to. As he is a good slasher/cutter. Nic wants a larger part in the offense, this would be an excellent offense for him! And the center is still up for grabs! But would surely bring out their best qualities as is how our roster looks like.

How do you guys feel with my assessment? Yay or nay? Is there a different system that would work better or you would rather see and why? Is it too risky to use this offense with how athletic other players are? Would it be effective? You know the drill! Go!!!

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