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Is the Dribble Drive Motion Offense Ruining Basketball?

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Unless you were living in Central California you never heard of the Dribble Drive Motion in 2003. In fact, even if you were living in Central California you wouldn't have heard of it because the originator, Vance Wahlberg, called it the "AASAA" (attack, attack, skip, attack, attack) back then.

Now it seems like EVERY team on the planet is running some form of the Dribble Drive Motion (DDM). If you don't believe me you should have been at the 81 team club tournament that I attended this past week!) How did this happen and is it really good for basketball?

During the 2004-2005 season John Calipari was coaching the Memphis Tigers and his team had just finished 100th in scoring average amongst all NCAA Division I teams.

Feeling he needed to make a change, Calipari began to implement an offense that he learned from Fresno City College's Wahlberg.

The basic premise of the offense was to simply spread the floor, attack the rim off the dribble, and look for the layup or the kick out 3. No screens, no mid-range jumpers, and no post-ups.

Using these principles Memphis saw immediate results as their scoring average went from 100th in the country to 10th. Only two years later, Calipari, the Tigers, and the newly named DDM were in the NCAA Championship game and the national spotlight.

Coaches everywhere started to think, "If it works for Memphis, it could work for us," and started teaching the DDM. "Dribble Drive" became a national buzz word even though more and more tweaks and adaptations began creeping into the offense.

However, the results haven't been all that impressive. In 2006-2007, the year many teams started copying the Memphis Tigers there were 142 NCAA Division I teams who averaged at least 70 points per game. Look what's happened since then now that teams are looking to attack the rim on every possession:

2008 - 139

2009 - 123

2010 - 132

2011 - 122

2012 - 105

2013 - 102

Why is this trend taking place?

The easy answer would be to say that defenses are improving but I personally don't think that's the cause.

What seems to be happening is this - teams aren't looking for the kick out 3 as much as they did 7 years ago. Instead, they are going hard to the rim and as a result there is contact on almost every single drive. So much contact in fact that the officials either can't or won't call every foul. If they did, games would last three hours long and several players on both teams would foul out - definitely not good when it comes to television contracts and sponsorships.

The result? No easy baskets; not as many wide open 3's; and not as many free throws. Take those three elements out of any offense and scoring is bound to drop.

The middle of the key is becoming a battle ground just like it was in the 80's when everyone jammed the ball inside to a big, bulky post player. Back then the game was becoming way too physical and so the 3 point line was instituted to open up the lane. Now the DDM and all its current variations designed to relentlessly attack the rim is doing the exact same thing to the game and it is bringing offensive scoring to a grinding halt.

Is the Dribble Drive Motion ruining basketball? Probably not, but it's not helping it either. The question of the day is this - will this decrease in scoring and increase in physicality continue or what, if any, changes can be made to reverse the trend?

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