February 18, 2005, Newsletter Issue #202: OPEN THE BACKDOOR

Tip of the Week

Most backcuts are pressure releases against defensive overplays, however they can also result from defensive errors such as losing vision on the ball or watching the ball and losing vision of the player that they are guarding. However, a large majority of open back cuts do not just happen by accident. They are set up with ball control and good outside shooting. The constant player movement and exchanges, along with patience, has a tendency to wear down or lull even the best of defenders to sleep.

Human nature dictates that anytime a shooter makes a shot, that defender is, naturally, going to play a little tighter and be susceptible to the backdoor. So run a backdoor to a player who has just made an outside shot. If an offensive player takes a step in any direction the pressure defender will, naturally, also take a step in that direction. When the ballhandler gets closer to another offensive player his defender will, naturally, play a little tighter on him. A nice way to signal a backdoor is to have the ballhandler dribble at a teammate. The teammate can make his backdoor cut at a particular interval - say two dribbles. Then the passer knows exactly when he is making the backdoor cut and can be prepared to pass.

Anytime you are being overplayed you should take your man backdoor. The player being denied the pass should take one more step towards the ball then plant a foot and cut hard to the basket. The cutter can also give a hand signal such as a closed fist instead of an open target hand as they are setting up the cut. The passer should make a bounce pass to the cutter. Timing is very important and should be practiced extensively.

Another possibility is to pass to a player who to steps up the lane. For example the point guard could pass to a post at the corner of the free throw line who could hit a wing player cutting. Based on the location of the wing and the defender, the wing would have a great angle to catch a little bounce pass off of the hip of the post player. Once again, the timing of this play is important, as the player may only be open for a split second.

There are countless backdoor opportunities from a number of different angles that can be used to get some easy baskets against teams that play good, pressure defense.

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