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A "Simple" Game Winning Play

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Have you ever called a timeout at the end of a game, drawn up a great man to man quick hitter and then have your team walk out onto the court only to find your opponent sitting back in a zone? What do you do then? Call another timeout and draw up another play? Run your original play and hope for the best? Close your eyes and pray?

That nightmare usually only needs to happen once before you realize that the best plays in those situations are ones that can be run against man to man and all types of zone defenses. That way no matter what the defense throws at you your players know exactly what to do and sometimes that little extra bit of confidence can make the difference between winning and losing!

A quick hitter that we call "Simple" is one of those plays that can be run effectively against man to man defenses, zone defenses with a two guard front, and zone defenses with a one guard front. Additionally, the fact that it has several built in scoring options and is extremely simple to learn and master makes it the ideal play to run out of a timeout

In the diagram below you can see that the offense starts with two players on top, your best shooter is stationed at the free throw line and a post player is standing above each block.

In the second diagram you can see what happens when your best shooter cuts down the middle and then around a baseline screen and out to either side. Against a 2-3 or 2-1-2 zone the bottom defender is forced to pick up the shooter or run the risk of giving up a game changing three pointer.

When this happens the post player on the strong side should immediately race to the opposing post player, post him up hard and start looking for a pass from the ball handler out front! If on the slim chance that neither the shooter nor the post player is open then the ball is reversed and the shooter runs along the baseline to the opposite corner where the same scoring options are available.

Against a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 zone "Simple" is even more effective because one defender is expected to cover both corners and so must cheat to one side in order to get there in time

In the diagrams below you can see how the zone is in big trouble unless their rotations are near perfect. If not there will be someone open right away. However, what really causes the one guard front trouble is when the shooter sprints form one corner to the nest. When this happens it is almost impossible for X5 to get around 5 and then get all the way around to front 4 as well.

Of course if your opponent started in a zone and switched to man to man after the timeout, you're still going to get an open shot only this time it will more than likely be for your best outside shooter. If the baseline picks are set properly the shooter is going to be open unless the defense switches. If and when that happens the post player quickly turns around and posts up the smaller guard.

The next time you need a final play to run don't get into a game of "cat and mouse" with the opposing coach and try to guess which defense he is going to use coming out of the timeout. Instead, use a multi-purpose quick hitter like Simple and then your biggest worry will be where to eat dinner when celebrating the win!

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