Building a Better Basketball Offense, Part 5: Cuts

Some final notes

When I started this post on cuts, cut plays, and how best to score at the basket, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As with most things in basketball, there’s a large amount of ways to get it done, and not every way is one-size-fits-all. You have to apply them to your program based on the personnel, and even then, not everything you’d hope would work ends up working. It’s a case-by-case deal, and the uncertainty can be rattling. And yet: all three of these teams regularly, consistently brutalized their opponents at the rim and in the paint through three very unique identities.

To be like Bellarmine, you need to preach fundamentals from day one and never, ever stop. It takes a long time to be as good as they are at knowing exactly where to be and when to pass it, but if you can even get halfway to their level, you’re doing a good job. Notre Dame benefits from having a two-time national championship winner as their head coach, obviously. Yet: they don’t win those titles and they don’t win as many games as they do if they aren’t dominant inside. It takes a large amount of skill to consistently get to the rim; it takes even larger amounts of skills and smarts to slice and dice zone defenses like they do. Lastly, South Dakota State isn’t exactly recruiting five-stars, but like Bellarmine, they recruit unselfish, smart players that know how to attract gravity, find an open player, and get tons of points.

In theory, there’s probably a finite number of ways to win basketball games. We haven’t yet reached the end of innovation; the sport is only 127 years old, after all. The beauty of knowing this is getting to watch coaches accept their finite amount of time, using it to teach players all of the possible ways they know to score points. Every coach does it a little differently, but these three do it more efficiently than just about anyone else. Using your allotted time to learn from them and implement some of their ideas seems like a great way to turn your offense into something greater.

Thanks for reading the fifth installment of Building a Better Basketball Offense. At the end of each post, there will be a link to extra notes or statistics I didn’t use, plus links to all GIFs and game videos used in the making of the post. Also, there’s transcripts of the interviews I did with each coach, with full audio files available upon request. Here’s this post’s edition.

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