New to the offense?

Friday, April 20, 2012


In today's post we will look at the next action of the offense called "Weak."

Weak begins when the ball handler passes ahead to the strong-side wing. This pass keys several actions:

1.  Ball handler Patrick Mills passes ahead to strong-side wing Manu Ginobili.
- Once this pass is made, the ball handler cuts across to the weak-side of the floor (hence the term "Weak") and the strong-side wing looks for the pass.  Here, Ginobili perfectly threads the needle and hits Mills in stride for an easy layup.

If the pass to the ball handler cutting through isn't available, the strong-side wing swings the ball up to top to the trailer:

- Again we see the ball handler, this time Tony Parker, pass ahead to the strong-side wing then cut across to the weak-side.  Parker's defender denies the pass.
- The strong-side wing swings the ball up top to the trailer Tim Duncan.
- The weak-side wing comes down to set a screen for the ball handler.  Parker's defender goes over the top of the screen, so Parker cuts backdoor and Duncan finds him for the layup.

If neither of these passes is available, the ball handler continues his cut to the weak-side and the trailer swings the ball to him.

1. We see the ball handler Tony Parker pass ahead to strong-side wing Kawhi Leonard.
- As Parker cuts through, the weak-side wing Danny Green comes down to screen.

2. Leonard swings the ball up top to the trailer, Tim Duncan.
- The weak-side wing continues towards the post man, DeJuan Blair and sets a cross screen for Blair

3. Duncan swings the ball to Parker, now on the weak-side of the floor.
Blair's defender chooses to go under Green's screen.  Blair flashes to the ball, giving Parker a wide open target.

4.  Parker passes to the post man Blair, who unfortunately misses the floater.

The cross screen by the weak-side man can also give the post man good position on the opposite block.

- Parker passes ahead to Leonard, who pops back to the ball, initiating weak.
- Parker cuts through
- Leonard swings up top to Tiago Splitter
- Green comes down to set the cross screen for Blair
- Splitter swings the ball to Parker, now on the weak-side of the floor
- Parker hits Blair on the opposite block.
  Green's defender gets caught ball watching and Blair finds Green for a wide open three.

If the post man can't be hit, the trailer goes down to screen the weak-side wing in a screen-the-screener action.

- Parker passes ahead to Leonard and cuts across to the weak-side, starting the weak action
- Green comes down to screen for Parker
- Leonard swings the ball up top to Duncan
- Duncan swings to Parker
- Green cross screens for Blair to go to opposite block
- Duncan goes down to screen for Green, who just cross screened for Blair, in a "screen-the-screener" action.
Green's defender momentarily left to help deny the pass to Blair on the opposite block, so Duncan's additional down screen leaves Danny Green wide open up top for the catch and shoot three.

Again we see the screen-the-screener action create openings for the offense:

- Here we see Ginobili set the cross screen.  His defender gets slowed down by his own teammate trying to stick with Duncan.  After the cross screen, Ginobili's defender stops for a beat to watch the ball and has to sprint to catch up with Ginobili.
- Manu's defender runs right into Bonner on the screen-the-screener action.
- Bonner's defender is forced to help on Ginobili, who has received the ball on the move.
Having drawn two defenders, Ginobili hits Bonner (who has stepped out to the wing).  Bonner, a deadly three point shooter, draws Leonard's defender.  Leonard takes advantage of the rotating Jazz and attacks the feet of the closeout.  Leonard makes a strong move to the basket and finishes for two.

Another advantage of quickly passing ahead is for a quick post up opportunity.

Parker passes ahead to Giniboli and cuts across, initiating weak.

Spurs big men are taught not to run in straight lines to the rim, but to banana cut to the block in order to quickly seal their defender.  Here Duncan banana cuts to the block and Manu easily feeds him.  The ball gets to Duncan so fast that he is able to face up with plenty of space between him and his defender.  Duncan makes a quick move to the middle of the lane and with one hard dribble is able to drive by his defender for a layup.

In Summary:
- When the ball handler passes ahead to the strong-side wing and cuts across to the weak-side of the floor, this pass initiates "Weak."  This pass keys:
- The strong-side wing to look for the cutting ball handler.  If the pass can't be made, he swings the ball up top to the trailer
- The weak-side wing to come down and set a cross screen for the post who sets up on the opposite block
- The trailer to swing the ball to the ball handler, now on the weak-side.  The trailer then sets a down screen for the weak-side wing
- The ball handler passes the ball to the weak-side wing who has come up top off the screen-the-screener action

(For an additional look at "Weak," visit NBA Playbook)


  1. Great stuff, I can watch a spurs game and know what they're doing now!

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