The question is no longer if, it’s when. Within 10 years he said to expect NBA franchises in Europe.
I hope the NBA takes more of an expansion mentality than an invasion mentality. Europe has a beautiful thing going with their current club system that could theoretically be in jeopardy if the NBA invades. Hopefully the NBA is planning some sort of partnership or membership into their league for the top clubs throughout Europe.
What does the future hold for the current Euroleague?
For me I would love to see an official relationship between the Euroleague and the NBA with the 2 finalists from each competition meeting at the end of the season in June for a Final 4. Where a true World Champion would be crowned.
Any basketball fan will agree that deciding a champion in a single game is the best way to crown a champion in basketball. This happens sometimes in playoff formats but is guarunteed in a Final 4. There is a reason the NCAA Final 4 and the Euroleague Final 4 generate a certain “feeling” that is rarely replicated in a playoff format.
Who wouldn’t have loved to see Barca and the Lakers face off in one semi final and the Celtics and Olympiacos in the other semi final in a Final 4 in London.
I‘d love to see the NBA expand in terms of competing and not necessarily in terms of imposing it’s capitalistic business model in a place like Europe that has a wonderful club system already in place.
John Wooden is considered by many as the greatest teacher in the history of basketball.
As we continue to look at the different “styles” of college basketball programs in a collaboration with aprendebaloncesto.blogspot.com. This has to be one of the first systems we look at even though it is from the past. Legendary coach John Wooden ran a simple yet sophisticated and very creative “High Post Offense” during his tenure at UCLA. I consider this the “father” of many of the offensive tactics used today including Phil Jackson’s (actually Tex Winter’s) Triangle offense.
John Wooden (1910-2010) is considered by many to be the greatest teacher the game of basketball has ever seen. While coaching at UCLA he won 10 National Championships in a 12 year span, creating one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.
He lived his life by the same principles that he taught to his players, based around honesty and hard work. He is as famous for his “Pyramid of Success” as he is for his unmatched success as a coach in the NCAA.
Wooden's Pyramid of Success was not only the foundation for his basketball teams, it was the foundation for his life.
A series of hundreds of blogs would not be enough to begin to describe all of John Wooden’s success or the lives he touched as an educator so I’m not going to try. Let’s take a look now at the tactics employed by Coach Wooden during his legendary run at UCLA.
Wooden was very clear on one thing above all others: The small details make the biggest difference. He believed that any offensive ideas and concepts would not maximize their potential unless the fundamentals were correct. Quick, effective and accurate passes, good footwork on both ends of the court, aggressive receiving and sharp cutting, proper dribbling and quick shooting were main points of emphasis in Coach Wooden’s pracice sessions. He insisted that if a team was not able to do those things than it didn’t matter what they did on offense or defense they weren’t going to maximize their potential.
Wooden never based success on wins and losses, for him it was a journey of maximizing the potential of each individual and the group as a whole.
Wooden was an advocate of the concept of “fake a pass to make a pass”, he encouraged his players to use ball fakes, head fakes, look-away fakes or any other type of fake to help accomplish the timely execution of passes. He insisted that it is best to make one good fake and pass the ball than to make various fakes.
Initiation: Guard to Guard Pass in a 4 out 1 in set
The guard to guard entry should always be a little toward the back court, never paralell
The UCLA high post offense’s preferred initiation was the guard to guard pass. According to Wooden, weak side defenders tend to sag to help so a pass inverting the ball from one side of the court to the other can facilitate a normally difficult pass. In other they started the offense on the opposite side of where they wanted to play and began with a guard to guard pass to take punish the defense for sagging and helping.
After this guard to guard pass there were various ways to get into the high post offense. One of Wooden’s big concerns was that his players never become “robotic.” He was able to prevent this by providing variations within the system and encouraging his players to be creative and read the defense.
ENTRY 1: Pass to High Post
From here the 5 man is gonna make his flash to the high post to recieve. The most important aspect in this next step is the timing of the 5 man’s cut. Which Wooden cited as only being able to be perfected through many repetitions in practice.
In this moment both of the wings (the 3 and 4) make a cut down to the low post calling for the ball.
The 5 man is to make a reverse pivot (moving his outside foot toward the basket) and the first look should be at the strong side for a back door bounce pass because there is a better chance the strong side defender is higher in the passing lane.
If there is no back door pass the 5 man will continue his reverse pivot to face up to the basket and have a look at the weak side post. The 3 man needs to make sure that he times his attempt to step in front of his defender in the lane so that he appears immediately after the 5 man looks at the back door pass.
The 5 man is also looking to be agressive to create his own scoring opportunity either with a shot or a fake (pass or shot) and a dribble for a short jumper. According to Wooden getting all the way to the basket is difficult because of the presence of the post players.
As shown in the picture the wings will each make flare cuts to the wings, making sure not to get too close to the 5 man so as there defender can guard two players at once and be a distraction to the 5 man while still staying with their man.
As at any moment in their offense the wings (like all other players) were encouraged to read the defense and make imporvisations based on reading the defense. These variations were explored through the constant repetitions in practice during which the defense would replicate varaious tactics they would encounter in the games.
At this point the forwards (3 & 4) are working to establish low post position and the 5 man needs to be aware which is the better post player and be a little more attentive to that side of the floor. Also aware that the passing angle into the post is best on the weak side of the floor so ideally they would initiate the offense with the guard to guard pass going away from the side of the better post player of the two forwards.
The posts should always be working to establish position and "seal their man" for an easy entry.
If the 5 man is unable to get the ball into the post or create a shot for himself he is looking for a pass to the wing, preferably to the weak side because the passing angle into the post is better from the weak side than the strong side because of the positioning of the help defenders. After a wing pass the high post man is cutting through the lane calling for the ball and setting a screen for the other pivot.
This is the 4 Options set, every variation of the high post offense eventaully arrives at this situation.
THE 4 OPTIONS SET: All plays arrive at this point after a certain number of passes. The wing with the ball now has 4 options, which should occur sequentially one after the other, with the timing being one of the essential elements of the success of the offense.
Option 1: Low Post
Option 1: Post entry. The guys on the blocks need to be constantly working for position in the high post offense.
The 1 man’s first option is to pass to the low post. Upon which the 4 man is cutting to the basket CALLING FOR THE BALL to look for a pass from the post and also to prevent his defender from helping on the post. The 5 man is trying to establish rebounding position along with the 4 man. The 2 man is rotating to the top of they key (not to the strong side) to become the protector and to provide rebounding balance.
Option 2: High Post
Option 2: High Post entry.
If the 3 man’s defender is fronting in the post the second option is to pass to the high post to get the ball down low with a solid “hi-low” pass. The 4 man fakes a basket cut and pops to provide a clear pass at the free throw line. The 4 man has a few options here:
Make the pass to the 3 man who has sealed his defender.
Pass to the 5 man cutting into the paint (again timing the key, the 5 man must wait until his opportunity arrives so as not to crowd the 3)
Or the 4 man can make an iversion pass to the 2 man who makes a cut to the basket and pops out to offer a pass looking to get the ball in to the 5 in case his man is fronting him in the post.
Option 3: Pass out to Guard
Option 3: Guard to guard pass at the top of the key area followed by a side post past or as the Lakers refer to it in the triangle, the "pinch post"
Handoff by the passed and a double screen on the help side. Wooden loved to have activity on both sides of the floors to prevent defenses from helping without being punished.
The next option is a pass out to the guard at the top, this may be a result of neither one of the first two options being available or the 1 man may see the best option on the weak side. The 2 man fakes a basket cut and pops out to the elbow extended on the strong side of the court.
Seeing the guard cut, the 5 man fakes a cut across the paint and appears at the elbow of the help side. This situation is one of the fundamental options in the Lakers Triangle Offense. After passing to the guard a variety of options will occur, as always, sequentially:
After the pass the 2 man is cutting off the ball looking for the handoff. The 2 man may also make a cut to the basket if his defender anticipates the handoff or pop out for a jumper if his defender goes under. They are looking to score any way they can off of this “two man game”
Just after the side post options take place (either a handoff or a one on one move) the 1 guard is coming off of a double screen.
Wooden was way ahead of his time in identifying the importance of creating scoring opportunities on the weak side of the court so that the defenders could not help on defense without allowing a new scoring opportunity to develop.
One of the thing Wooden like best about this offense was the rebounding balance it provided for shots within the offense, always with 3 men going to the offensive glass, a man at the free throw line for long rebounds and 1 man long to protect against a cheap basket the other way.
Option 4: Dribble Up
The 4th option was the "dribble up". Wooden used this option of the 5 man running off of two screens to express the importance of making sure you are doing things to fit the personnel of your team.
The 2 man dribbles agressively at the guard who cuts towards the basket looking for a back door pass and easy basket. The moment the 2 puts the ball on the floor the 4 man is dropping to set a double screen and the 5 man is going to run off of the double screen looking for a jumper. Wooden notes that his option of the 5 man going off of a double screen may not be appropriate for every team and emphasized the importance of selecting and designing options in your offense that fit your personnel.
Entry 2: Ball to wing + UCLA cut
The High Post offense could also be run with a wing entry followed by the famous UCLA cut.
The offense may also initiate with a pass to the wing instead of to the high post. This is when Wooden created the famous “UCLA Cut.” He had his post face the basket and set the screen with his back so as not to be called for a foul. If there was no opprtunity created as a result of the UCLA Cut the pivot opened 1 STEP to the 3 point line, offering his outside hand as a big target for the pass.
Big takes one step and offers a big target
The 5 man is now in an identical situation to when he receives directly from the guard to initiate the offense.
From here the 5 man is looking for the weak side forward to flash to the ball and if not he has the option to invert the ball to the weak side and also the option of the guard coming off of a down screen on the strong side. And in the case of an inversion of the ball, they are now again in the 4 options set seen above.
Now they have again arrived at the 4 Options Set described above.
All entries lead the High Post Offense here: The 4 Options Set
Once again the offense arrived at the 4 Options Set.
Entry 3: Ball to wing + Handoff Action
As always the first pass is guard to guard.
A wing entry pass and the passer is going to follow the ball and make what Wooden called an "outside cut"
The wing is going to pass back to the guard at the top and then go over a cross screen looking for an easy basket on the other side.
Now the weak side man is going to recieve a double screen for a jumper. This was the main objective Wooden used this set.
The bottom screener is going to pop up on the continuation looking for hi-low action on either side.
Once again we have arrived at the 4 Options set.
There is John Wooden’s famous High Post Offense in a nut shell. He not only was an excellent teacher in life as his former students and players swear by, he was an excellent teacher of the X’s and O’s of basketball. His offense was a no-gimmicks approach in that he didn’t really care if you knew what he was going to do. His offense was based around creating an advantage based on how the defense tried to stop them.. His 10 National Championships are a testament to the success of this offensive system. The only appropriate thing to say is thank you coach Wooden for being such a great example for us to follow.
Arthur Agee and William Gates will take you on an unforgettable ride in the documentary Hoop Dreams. A must see for any basketball fan
I was looking around for hoops videos online and came across Hoop Dreams on Youtube. For any basketball player, coach or fan this is a 100% must. This movie is able to capture parts of basketball that words and images can’t normally describe. The ups and downs of two young Chicago hoopers on their pursuit of their dreams. This is the best basketball movie of all time, I like it more than any Hollywood film because it’s real. Those of you who haven’t seen it here’s the first part and you can find the rest on Youtube. Enjoy and remember the power of HOOP DREAMS
Last night was the official beginning of basketball season in the NCAA and around the nation students packed gyms to get their first peak at 12:00 am to ring in the new year. This has become the norm at programs around the nation from the national powers to the lower division squads. Literally the first minute allowed under NCAA rules these guys are on the court.
NCAA basketball is basketball in it’s purest form. Why?
These are all “kids”
18-22 years olds who are playing the game because they love it. Yes there are the handful that are just on a short stop on their way to make millions in the NBA or overseas but the vast majority of college basketball players will go professional in something other than basketball once they graduate. And with only 4 years of eligibility there is a sense of urgency or “last run” that gives college hoops even more importance and a very special feeling.
The emotions in college basketball is not matched in any other competition in sports.
The commitment of the fans.
The intensity of the fans in college basketball give the home team an advantage. The Cameron Crazies of Duke (shown) make it next to impossible to get a victory against Coach K in Cameron.
Basketball is a spectator sport and when it’s at it’s finest the environment in the arena is electric. And in sports, there are no fans more committed than college basketball fans, these guys are committed to their team and feel the wins and losses like no other. In the majority of the arenas they have the best seats in the house and many schools have a “6th man” effect from their fans because their support gives their team an advantage.
A true champion decided in one game, every year.
In many sports there are so many different tournaments and cups and “titles.” In college hoops there are the league champions but at the end of the year there is no doubt as to who the champion is. And it’s decided in perhaps the purest tournament in sports, March Madness. 68 teams, you lose and you go home. Legends are born and basketball careers are ended, they put it all on the line and there is only one left standing.
It’s a game.
None of these guys are professionals (although some get paid illegally). These are students, in it’s purest form basketball is a game of diversion, I’m not sure if Dr. Naismith ever thought it would become so professionalized but I know he hoped it would be a means of social interaction and diversion for students. Well this is the realization of that dream. These kids are playing basketball because they want to, not because their paychecks depend on it.
Even though I love the NBA and European basketball for me there is no doubt that basketball in it’s purest form, began last night.
We may see Kobe vs Mickeal in the NBA next year...not that Micheal
I wanted to let a day pass before writing about the game between Barcelona and the Los Angeles Lakers because when a game is fresh in the memory you tend to remember only the most emotional moments: Pete Mickeal constantly stepping up and going toe to toe with Kobe, the fast break basket in the 2nd half when all 5 Barca players touched the ball in less than 2 seconds and two Lakers defenders helplessly looked around them as if they were being attacked by 20 ninjas, the referees calling anything imaginable to try and give the 2-Time defending (NBA) World Champions another opportunity to win. All memorable moments but it’s always best to let the emotions calm before analyzing what went on.
Congratulations F.C. Barcelona for the victory and this game will be a memorable milestone as basketball continues it’s road towards globalization.
The coaching highlights:
Without a doubt Phil Jackson sending his starters back on the court with 5 minutes left and his team down by 5. You think Kobe is the most competetive guy in the Lakers locker room? I beg to disagree. It was a win-win situation for Jackson, if they pull out the victory he is showing his team that any time they step on the court it’s to get that W. If they lose it’s a touch of attention that winning titles the last couple of years means absolutely nothing now. You win and lose now, on the court, not with rings on your hand.
Xavi Pascual leaving Mickeal in the game when he picked up his 3rd foul early in the 3rd quarter. In any other game I’m 95% certain Mickeal comes out. But it was an example of a coach being totally in sync with his guys and being in support of him. Pascual understood that this game meant more for Pete Mickeal than any other player on the court and he supported Mickeal and had confidence in him when the cards were stacked against him. This move (or non move) will go a long way come Playoff time in terms of Pascual’s credibility with Mickeal.
There was one moment in the 3rd quarter when it looked like the Lakers were going to bust it open and Artest made an uncontested layup on a (not that fast) fast break. You could see Pascual going absolutely creazy on the sideline for his guys not getting back on D. It’s the only time I have seen that happen to one of his teams (and I doubt it will happen again).
Jackson had no problems with sending his starters on the court to finish the game in the loss to F.C. Barcelona. It was a win-win: If they won they prove an unwavering competetive nature and if they lost it gives the team a wake-up call: last year means nothing now.
The playing highlights
The fast break in the second half when Barca moved the ball to all 5 players from the 3 point line to the basket and noone even held the ball, leaving the Lakers dizzy as they watched Fran Vazquez slam it home.
Kobe vs Mickeal- I know Kobe lacks form but he gave Mickeal everything he had and couldn’t get it done. These guys are both 32 and Mickeal took this as a personal challenge to prove his value as he looks to head back to the NBA next season. He probably won himself a starting job in the NBA next year.
Rubio ready to save the T-Wolves? I know he’s solid but he looked like a boy among men in the game against the Lakers, despite what Kobe or the T-Wolves GM says, I still think he’s a few years away from having an impact in the NBA, and he think he knows this.
I know that the Lakers are in pre-season form and Bynum was hurt but I think this was an eye opening victory for Europe that they are not very far away at all from the NBA level. And the NBA I’m sure realizes this as well.
So in the years to come when we see a formal relationship develop between professional basketball in Europe and the NBA, this game will be a marking point in terms of the question that will begin to be asked: I know they won the NBA but are they the best team in the world?
Here’s an interesting interview from Warriors assistant coach Stephen SIlas, son of NBA legend Paul Silas
I found it interesting and true when Silas talks about the experience of stepping out from under his father’s wing (as his assistant) when he came to Golden State. He said “that was all I knew” with reference to how his father did things as a coach. And there is so much truth to that, you only know the things that you have experienced, those experiences can be from coaching with someone, watching practices, breaking down video and otehr things as well but you only know what you’ve experienced. This seems very basic but it should be something constantly present for coaches and the drive to try and constnantly improve by broadening our experiences.
We only know know the things we have experienced as a coach. It’s important for our development to try and gather experiences as fast as we can by studying, watching other coaches practice and reading. But a good coach needs to constantly be expanding “what I know”