The Pass, Cut and Defend Drill looks to help players with the basics of offense and defence around a cut to the basket. Cutting on offense in basketball is the most fundamentally used movement tactics. Sometimes employed to be a scoring opportunity and in other situations a cut is used as a way to create player movement or space. Defensively being able to restrain a cut by an offensive player is at the heart and soul of frustrating teams and being effective on defence. The Pass, Cut and Defend Drill looks to provide an opportunity for both offense and defence to work on this most vital of skills, the cut.
The set-up of the Pass, Cut and Defend Drill starts with the offensive player in possession of the ball. The offensive player initiates a pass to Coach and the drills starts.
The offensive player will create a lead away from the desired passing area. Then once the defensive player starts to move in this direction to shadow, offensive player cut back ball side of the defender for the easier passing lane form the Coach. A swimming technique is one of the preferred options for helping to create this space and separation.
The goal of this sequence of movements is for the offensive player to be able to move ball side of the defender and receive the easy passing option for the scoring opportunity. During the cut the offensive player must be aware of their space and ensure they do not cut back too far across the split line because in doing so they will create an opportunity for the defensive player to recover and position themselves between the offensive player and the basket.
An option to change-up the drill is to have the offensive player not start with the ball, but have to utilise a V-Cut to catch a pass from the Coach before passing to start the drills main focus. This again can be filled with teaching points for both the offensive and defensive player.
Additionally, another change-up for the drill is to replace the Coach with another offensive player and defender. This will allow further players to practice the theme of creating good leads and passing targets throughout the drill.
The second option for an offensive player to practice is if the defender does not move to shadow them, but instead drops along the split line.
In this scenario, the offensive player must make a read and flash cut to the basket. This movement will need to reply on the speed of the offensive player to gain separation to between themselves and the defender.
Once reaching the front of the basket. The offensive player will need to bounce back up the split line in an attempt to create contact and ultimately a seal on the defender. This will create a passing lane under the defender, between the offensive player and the basket.
An alternative movement in this scenario is for the offensive player to wait for a reaction by the defender to the flash cut, and then alter the cut to lift back towards the Coach for a receiver spot at the strong side high post. This will create a one on one situation, but from a high percentage scoring position in or around the keyway.
The three different cuts discussed should be performed in a controlled movement initially to allow the offense and defence an opportunity to develop understanding of what should or could happen. However, as quickly as possible the Pass, Cut and Defend Drill should be performed in a “live” atmosphere to have both players learn how to play through issues and still be effective in their roles.
The Pass, Cut and Defend Drill can be altered to have a different phase added to its movement. In the variation pictured above an additional offensive player is positioned on the opposite wing to that of the Coach.
The Pass, Cut and Defend Drill starts the same as usual, but if the defender is effective in preventing the passing option from the Coach. The Cutter needs to seal and post up looking for the skip pass and post entry from the weak side of the floor.
The Pass, Cut and Defend Drill looks to bring a number of different reads about for the offensive and defensive player. It is very true with the Pass, Cut and Defend Drill that the better the defence is, the more significant the benefit to the offensive player will be.