Del Harris at work at the clinic. Photo Courtesy: Clint Furtado/BFI.

Del Harris at work during the clinic. Photo Courtesy: Clint Furtado/BFI.

I. The essence of the passing game is to create ball and player movement with spacing. When you see that the offense is stagnant or that a play has broken down, you can initiate the passing game and cause the motion we want. The defense will make mistakes, if you put them in enough situations. Instead of standing, find a way to create a defensive situation by cutting or screening.

II. If you have the ball and do not shoot it or penetrate, you can:
a. Pass and cut to the goal, looking for a return pass (give/go)
b. Pass and screen down or away,
c. Pass and drift to a different angle,
d. Dribble over toward a perimeter player’s defender and pitch out, (DHO). Watch for backdoor cut. Pitch late to avoid switch.
e. Pass and screen the man you pass to, if he is a capable pick and roll ballhandler. But, not late on the shot clock (They switch)
f. The only wrong thing is to pass and stand. That’s why we call it MOTION.

III. If you do not have the ball:
Initiate an action in “Buddy Ball”. Options for Buddy Ball:
i. Pick a partner and set a pick on him (use fist up as a signal that you are coming to pick him) and then open back up toward                    the ball after picking.
ii. Pick a partner and motion him to come pick you.
iii. Cut to an open gap in the defense, but move on out, if you do not get the ball in order to keep spacing.
iv. Backcut if you are one pass away and are denied.
v. Do not stand still when covered–create motion.
vi. Fill cut into the open space if a player on the perimeter cuts who was between you and the ball—create a pass angle for the                     ball handler.
vii.Screen the ball handler, if he is a capable pick/roll man.

IV. If you are in the post:
Unless you are a designated post man who scores it well, you will post only 2 to 3 seconds and then move to:
i. Pick across the lane or up the lane,
ii. Set a pick and roll on the ball, especially after the ball has been swung once.
iii. Pick the passer as soon as he passes (this will be a backpick, of course),
iv. Or, cut on out wide to the corner or wing, especially if you are a shooter with some range.

Special notes for reminders:

  1. Never pass and simply stand. Create movement.
  2. Never stand still when you are being defended. Create movement.
  3. Continue a cut on past the 3-point line instead of stopping in between the foul lane area and the 3-point line. Keep the middle open and the offense spread. Do not shrink the offense.
  4. Stay high at the top and wide on the wings—again, do not shrink your offense; keep it spread.
  5. Look to penetrate mainly after the ball has been swung once.
  6. Know the movements you must make upon dribble penetration.

The Penetration and Pass or “Drive and Kick” game work hand in hand with the Motion/Passing game concepts to provide a concept of how to play the game without having to run a connect-the-dots programmed offense all the time. They work against both the man to man and zone defenses as well.

Its all about spacing and this is how you get it.

When the team understands these simple concepts they will consistently have proper spacing with ball and player movement, while maintaining defensive balance. This is what a set offense is designed to do, but this system allows players to play without fetters in a transition game or to complete the action when set plays break down or are just not being effective.

If you choose to use it as a main offense, you will still need some set play actions. The coach can call special plays out of timeouts and in crucial times in the game when the ball should be put into the hands of the better players in positions where they can succeed in a high percentage of cases.