This is a guard-oriented offense that features spreading the floor and dribble-penetration to the rack (rim) for lay-ups or kick-out three-point shots. I love this offense because it teaches spacing, timing, ball movement and leaves the decisions to the players. Similar to the 4 out 1 in motion offense, this is a great system for player development and prevents me from shouting from the sidelines especially at the youth level.
Teach players how to play basketball, not how to run plays.
Coach Vance Walberg invented the AASAA (attack, attack, skip, attack, attack) offense while coaching high school basketball 20 years ago. He had 2 guards that could get to the rim but no big man and he realized the problem with most traditional offenses was spacing (too much congestion in middle). This system creates gaps in the defense for layups and 3’s.
It worked so well that John Calipari took it to the college level, modified it and popularized it as dribble drive motion. Since then, it’s been adopted by multiple NBA teams including Celtics, 76ers and Sacramento Kings.
- Points per possession
- 4 zones
- Spacing and gaps
- Building blocks
Points per possession
We like 3 pointers but we love layups
To understand dribble drive motion, we need to learn about points per possession.
Coach Walberg believes the best shots are:
- Free throws
- Shots are close to the rim (layups/putbacks/drives)
- 3 pointers.
Reason: points per possession. Great teams score 1.1 points per possession.
60% x 2 points = 1.2
35-40% x 3 points = 1.1~1.2
70% x 2FT’s = 1.4
28% x 2 points = 0.56
Layups and free throws go hand in hand. That’s why in the dribble drive, you want to get the “rack” (basket). If that’s not available then the next best shot is the 3 pointer.
1 and 5 are the focal points of this offense. You want players that can beat their man and get to the rack. 2 and 3 are shooters waiting for the kick out when 1 or 5 gets stopped. 4’s job is simply to stay out of the way by always staying in the block opposite to the penetration.
- Point guard
- Best shooter
- Good shooter
- Big man. Stay low and away.
- 2nd player that can penetrate (can be guard or point forward)
Attack, Attack, Skip, Attack, Attack
When the offense catches the ball, they should be keep these 3 points in mind:
- Mentality to get to the basket.
- Open the gaps.
- Keep great spacing
Be aggressive. Look to attack the rack. The motion is triggered by the dribble penetration which opens up shooters and creates spacing.
Who hits who first usually wins.
“Clip the hip” – The first person to make contact wins. Make sure you attack the hip of the defender and look for contact instead of going around the defender and getting bumped. Another key point is to keep your head up on the drive or you won’t see passing options.
Play no hold basketball or zero seconds. Shoot it, drive it or pass it. Don’t catch and hold the ball.
4 Zones terminology
To make it easier to teach, you can break down the court into 4 zones.
- Rack zone
- Drag zone
- Drop zone
- Break down zone
Key point: you want your players to get into or as close to the rack zone as possible. That’s where you’re going to get layups and free throws.
Rack zone – If you can get to the rack, get to the rack and finish. If you can’t then being in different zones triggers different actions.
Drag zone – You want to avoid this zone. Either stop at the drop zone or get into the rack. If you do stopped in this zone, either skip pass to weakside or pass back to player filling your spot.
Drop zone – If you can’t get to the rack zone, stop here and “drop” the ball to other players to develop something.
Break down zone – This is the zone from your own half up to the 3 point line. The objective is to break the defense down and stay in the middle of the court.
Spacing and gaps
An important concept in dribble drive motion is the concept of gaps. There are 3 types of gaps:
- Single gap
- Double gap
- Triple gap
This offense is about creating as large as a gap as possible and then attacking that gap. The bigger the gap, the easier it is to attack.
Let’s walk through an example. You see single gaps between the guards. This makes it difficult to penetrate because it is easy for the help defense to help. By moving the guards to the corners, you now have a double gap.
If 1 makes and penetrates, passes back to 5. 1 cuts to opposite 3 point and 3 rotates up. Now you have a triple gap. 40% of the points should come from attacking this triple gap.
There are some simple rules for the guards and forwards to maintain spacing.
[alert type=”success” icon-size=”normal”]Tip: Players that can’t shoot 3’s have a natural tendency to drift inside the 3 point line and cheat up from the corners. Don’t let that happen! Staying in the corner creates a double gap and the moment they cheat it becomes a single gap.[/alert]
Here are the rules for the guards and forwards. Don’t worry if you don’t understand them now, we’ll go through them one by one.
- Corner, corner, post opposite and man in motion.
- Attack, attack, skip, attack, attack
- Always somebody behind driver
- Basket cut after a pass to the middle and then back out to the 3 point line opposite of dribbler
- Unless cutting or dribbling, stay outside the 3 point
- If player can’t dribble penetrate take ball to middle for spacing
- Ball goes to high post, open-side wing cuts backdoor. All players bump up to maintain spacing.
- If the ball is dribbled at you, either go backdoor or take dribble handoff.
Corner, corner, post opposite and man in motion means that 2 players should always be in the corners. The post needs to stay in the low block opposite to the dribbler. 1 person should always be in motion meaning dribble penetrating or basket cutting.
When somebody drives, the closest player should fill the space vacated by the attacker.
- Always stay opposite on the block to the dribbler
- Post player can ball screen on the open wing or high.
- Post player looks to pop or roll after setting ball screen.
- If ball stalls on top, weakside forward posts to the top.
Now that we understand gaps, let’s build up the motion offense step by step from 2 players to 5 players.
Before we go further, we need to go over what attacking the lane/middle/baseline means. See below:
Building blocks – Post player
Let’s talk about the post player first. The post player’s priority is to maintain spacing. They can do that by staying low and away. The post should always stay on opposite side of the penetrator. If the dribbler is attacking the middle of the lane and the post is on the opposite side, the post needs to V cut to the opposite block.
When the dribble penetration gets into the pain (drag zone), there are 4 options:
- Defender hugs you. In this case, go further away and lower to the baseline to create even more space.
- Defender goes to help on dribble penetration. Raise hands up for a lob/bounce pass from penetrator.
- Skip to weak side. Immediately seal and get ball for bucket.
- Penetrator inside drag zone, get into rebounding position for “clean up”.
Building blocks – Weakside and ballside corners
Adding in the wings, we now have more options:
- If defense rotates and stops dribbler, 2 needs to relocate to the free throw line extended to get an open shot.
- If ball side defender helps, pass to corner for 3.
You must teach spacing, timing and movement. We’ll go over that later, the players must know when to relocate.
Recap of the building blocks. The 4 options of a dribble penetrator are as follows:
- Lob/bounce pass opposite post
- Pivot and pass back to cutter filling
- Skip pass to weak side for 3 point shot/pass to strong side for 3
Building block – Fast breaks (2 and 4 penetration)
Building block – 1 or 5 penetration
The offense relies on 1 or 5 to penetrate and create. Such as a Derrick Rose or John Wall. Let’s go through the basic motion of a couple scenarios.
Based on the above rules, you can already build a very solid motion offense and get alot of of options at the youth level. We will do another blog post about the advanced concepts such as kick backs, motion off the drop zones and much more.
#shareTheGame: Do you coach the dribble drive motion? Leave a comment and tell us your experience or if you have any insights you’d like to add here.