David Harris shares insight on Offensive Momentum & building blocks for creating a good offensive team. Harris is currently a Special Assistant at the University of Texas. Harris was previously a Graduate Assistant & Video Coordinator at VCU under Coach Smart. David completed his successful playing career at Ashland University in 2013.
Offensive Momentum - when the offense is at an advantage (5 on 4,4 on 3) and gets the defense to play "catch up" and scramble creating an open shot for the offense. Momentum is lost when 5 defensive players are matched up against 5 offensive players.
Examples of scoring without Offensive Momentum:
1. Standing Isolations- some players/matchups are so good that this can be a good option to score for your team, but shouldn’t be something you rely on every single play because the defense will adjust and you will eventually have to be able to build Offensive Momentum because of help drawn.
2. Offensive Rebounds and Put Backs - even if you come down court and jack a bad shot you still have the opportunity to create an extra chance to get another shot attempt to score. But it is a lot easier to offensive rebound when you have Offensive Momentum because the defense is at a disadvantage and is not matched up to box out.
Ways to create offensive momentum
Transition is the easiest and earliest way to achieve Offensive Momentum because the defense is automatically at a disadvantage.
Draw two on the ball:
1. Ball screens
2. Threatening drives
3. Tight curls off screens
4. Giving ball to player that is getting double teamed.
Fast decisions must be made every time you catch the ball: shot, pass, drive.
4 players should be thinking about the next pass.
1 second rule to shoot pass or threatening drive.
Once you start having momentum behind the ball. A way to cancel that momentum is to have two offensive players standing next to each other. A way to continue or increase momentum is to make defenders cover a large area of space. Spacing is constantly adjusting with drives and passes. Spacing can be specific spots (i.e. Baseline drift spot) but is also a feel thing which should be worked on everyday.
Screening off the ball:
Helps create closeouts situations.
Cutting into open space:
Good spacing is not just all the players standing behind the 3 point line. Cutting can be very good to shorten long difficult passes, draw defenders, and make non shooters a scoring threat once the ball is gaining momentum. If you keep non shooters spaced it could lead to guys not being guarded, and unless you can capitalize on this defensive decision then all it will lead to is your team losing offensive momentum.
Within a possession your team can gain, lose, and regain Offensive Momentum. The more time your team spends "getting organized", having non threatening movement (slow/non scoring cuts), or dribbling the ball leads for less time to create Offensive Momentum.
Offensive Momentum does not necessarily have to be the beautiful 10 pass 0 dribble possession like we see the San Antonio Spurs/Golden State Warriors have, but it can be as simple as a drive and kick for an open shot. Plays are suppose to create one of the ways listed above to spark Offensive Momentum. The "Play" you run doesn't get you the bucket (especially against good teams later in the season) but the Offensive Momentum derived from the Play gets your team the bucket.
Don't get caught up in practicing "Plays" especially early in the year, practice starting/increasing Offensive Momentum.
There is no substitute for having the best players, especially when you can get good/great players to play with Offensive Momentum. The better the player the harder it is to guard them off of ball screens. The better the player the harder it is to closeout. The better the shooter the more threatening the spacing.
But even in the highest level game the majority of the points scored are from Offensive Momentum plays.
Reasons why offensive Momentum doesn't get reached in a possession:
1. Offense can't create one of the ways listed above. (Great Defense/Bad players)
2. Players can't buy into getting the ball out of their hands (sorry but to reach offensive Momentum consistently you can't have a ball dominate player, unless he is phenomenal)
3. Constantly running isolations and not being able to play out of it if it is taken away.
4. Having too many sets. A team that plays mainly from Reads is a sign of a team that knows how to play. A team that plays mainly thru Sets is a team that is very robotic. Offensive Momentum is not scripted. It will lead to random drives, skip passes, cuts, ball/off the ball screens, hand offs,etc. Because it is a feel/read concept to keep the defense at a disadvantage it should be the main focus point on teaching offense.
5. Can't shoot. If you have too many non shooters there is no need for the defense to guard. If the defense doesn't have to guard certain players then it is hard for the defense to be put in a disadvantage (not impossible, could be strategic with driving/cutting)
6. Bad at ball handling. Ball handling is dribbling, passing and catching. Along with shooting these are truly the foundation to achieving Offensive Momentum. If your team struggles to do these skills then this will really slow down the movement of the basketball. Slower the ball moves, the harder it is to get the defense at a disadvantage, the harder it is to achieve Offensive Momentum, the harder it is to get a great shot.
7. Bad screening team. Screening bodies creates a player to get open for a shot or the defense to help putting two defenders on he ball. If you don't successfully screen a body then all it is, is bad screening.
8. Slow cutters. Teams that do not cut hard make it easy for the defense to stay matched up 1 on 1. Hard cuts create closeouts which is what you are really searching for in an offensive possession.