The following are Sean Miller's 7 tenets of defense:
Get back as fast as possible. Always want to be playing at least even-sided on defense (5v5).
1 & 2 always get back on the shot. Rebound with 3 players.
Against a “road runner” point guard. One defender slows the ball down, while the others build a wall so that the PG cannot get to the basket.
If a player back pedals on transition defense he pulls them from the game and makes them sit. Players need to sprint back on defense to get to the paint.
DEFEND THE POST
You need to start all defensive theories based on how you decide to guard the post. The rest of your defense builds on that.
- must discourage the post entry pass.
- must be higher than the offensive player – ie ¾ from the high side.
- On the pass to the post, the post defender must jump behind the offensive player and push them out with their belly button.
- On the throw – GET BEHIND
- If the offensive player catches it – take a step back so there is no contact.
- Then, WALL UP so that help can come.
- If he turns to shoot, walk into him with your hands up in the air and your feet taking short choppy steps.
- Help never comes from ball side. That is the easiest pass for the post to make and it is a simple shot for the shooter.
- Help always comes from the TOP. Especially when the post dribbles the ball. If he dribbles, crash on the post hard. Try to touch the bottom of the ball if he dribbles.
- Help never comes from the other block. That is a simple pass for a simple shot.
- Crowd from the top and fake from the top and help from the top
DEFEND THE PERIMETER
Pressure the ball. Always have someone on the ball.
Defender must be able to touch their player. Don’t want to be able to reach through them, just touch them.
Never get beat to the outside. Cannot get beat baseline or to the outside.
“Level the ball” – on the drive to the inside, don’t let the ball get to the elbow. Level the ball so the offensive player cannot get to the elbow. Use your feet and body to push the offensive player higher than they want to go.
Does lots of closeout drills. Must be consistent on closeout and practice it a lot.
Big steps into choppy steps with hands high. “High Hands” means hands above the shoulders.
Take the jab fake with your back foot. React to fakes with your back foot.
Closeout depends on the player with the ball too. On a good shooter - close tight. On a poor shooter, close looser.
Closeout so that you do not get beat to the outside or baseline.
PACKLINE - HELP POSITIONING
Player on the ball is ON THE BALL.
Players 1 pass away are in the GAP. (Jump to the ball first, and then get within the packline)
Players 2 passes away are in HELP with at least 1 foot in the paint.
Always need to closeout fast and hard. Should be easy, because you are only coming from help position to closeout. The defender does not need to get to help position and then close out.
He does shell drills for this stuff. He builds and progresses the shell drill. He assigns a coach to the offense of the shell drill. This coach is responsible for getting realistic efforts and effects from the offense.
The progression in the shell is:
a) Defensive players and coach start under the rim. The coach passes to one of the offensive players. Everyone gets to their spots.
b) Offensive players pass the ball, but stand still
c) Offense passes, cuts through and rotates to fill
d) Offense passes and screens away
e) Offense – on guard pass, guard-to-guard interchange. On guard to forward pass, cut through
DEFENDING BALL SCREENS
a) Perimeter players cannot go under a ball screen
b) Always go over the screen
c) The screener’s defender jumps out to make the cutter go high. This gives perimeter defender more chance to get over the screen.
d) When the ball screen happens, the other 3 defenders are a critical part of the ball screen defense.
e) When the ball screen happens, the other 3 defenders form a triangle to stop penetration.
f) It is OK to switch on the ball screen if that is what you like to do.
DEFENDING OFF-THE-BALL SCREENS
If I’m guarding the cutter, I must follow the cutter. I have no packline/gap/help responsibilities until after the screen and cut are done. The screener’s defender helps by jamming the cutter or bumping the cutter. All cutters need to get bumped.
For the flex cut, the cutter’s defender “sits on” the screener. Reads the cutter and then bumps the cutter, making them go higher or lower than they wanted, and then follows the cutter. The screener’s defender must try to give the passer the impression that the defender will steal the ball. Sort of faking to steal the ball all the time. Thus, influencing the pass to the cutter.