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Creating Open Shots

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Is there anything more enjoyable than watching a player create open shots for other players? I'm serious, when I watch a game and can see a player create open shots for another guy it just makes me smile.

I love basketball, maybe too much, but when the game is played the right way it just makes me happy.

As I've written about before, I grew up a very shot happy shooting guard. There was never a shot I didn't like or wouldn't attempt. I felt like at times I could've been treated for shooter's elbow or something like that. But as I got older, I realized that I would have to be a point guard if I wanted to play at the next level and my eyes were opened.

Point guard is not an easy position to play. Now, I want to say that you don't have to be a point guard to make other players better or create shots for them, but I was always the guy getting the shots so it was hard for me to notice at that age.

I'm going to speak to the players who may not have as much experience or to the coaches who might be new at that as well. Creating shots for others is something that comes from being in situations by playing a lot of basketball. In my opinion the only true way to learn is to do. PLAY, PLAY, PLAY and PLAY some more.

As a point guard I was always watchful of little things. Little things like where my players liked to catch the ball. Did they like to catch passes with spin or no spin? Yes, you can control that. Where do they like to shoot from? Who is guarding them? But it was also important to test defenses to see how they would react to certain things.

I knew that most teams would use a help defense or a help/recover type defense. This means that as I drive to the basket what will the defense do? Will another player step in to try and stop me? Will the defender fake like he's going to stop me and then go back to his man? Many things play into any type of situation and that's why it is most important to play as much as possible. You'll naturally learn this by playing in a lot of games and eventually thing will come very easily to you.

One of the simplest ways to create a shot for another player is to be able to beat your player off the dribble. If you can beat your player off the dribble then you have the defense eating out of your hand. Let's use a scenario where the defense helps out in an attempt to stop you completely. If I'm at the top of the key and I drive left and beat my man, the defender guarding the wing player will come down and attempt to stop me. If I have a wing player that can shoot well then I will immediately pass the ball to him for an open look. This is very simple. What if your wing player is a terrible shooter?

Do you still pass it to him? If so why? The answer is, I wouldn't even go to his side. My goal is to get a basket so why would I want to create a 30% shot when I could get something better for either someone else or somewhere else on the floor. Make sure that you always know where your players are and what their strengths are. I have a guy that I have played with for years and he is a great standup shooter from the baseline. I will tell him coming down the court to sit in a corner and I'll get him the ball. So when I know we need a big 3 pointer we will get it.

Please understand that in today's game some defenses are geared completely around stopping certain players. But those players don't need help getting shots, the reason they are guarded so closely is because they are good. Those are the creators. You'll learn of what the defense thinks of you by how you are guarded.

Back to some methods here: When you are able to get into the key from any position you will be guarded by more than one player and more often then not a little pass can be made to someone inside for a lay-up or an easy inside shot. Anytime that you are guarded by more than one person someone else is open. Make the pass, show trust in your teammates. Build players up that need it and get on the players that can handle that.

I've given a couple ideas but this really will come from playing games and practicing. Focus on the small things like what your teammates are good at. Don't just create an open shot for a teammate, create an easy open shot for a teammate and you'll always get picked up.

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