Saturday, April 24, 2010

Line of Deployment

In this post we'll take a look at another number 2 pass to the top (this time from game 3), and discuss the line of deployment.

The Lakers began with a "solo" series (where the overload is on the weakside).

1. Kobe begins by passing to Gasol in the wing

Instead of filling the strong side corner to form the triangle, Kobe cuts to the opposite wing, overloading the weak side (non ball side).

This creates a 2 man game between Gasol and Bynum.  However, Bynum's man immediately fronts.

2. Gasol reverses to Fisher

Just like in the last post, the ball gets swung to the other side, where the triangle can be formed.

3. N.1 pass from Fisher to Ron (Ron in the "key" position, otherwise known as the "strong side wing").

As Ron goes out to meet the ball, Bynum comes across the lane and shapes up along the "line of deployment," forming the triangle

The line of deployment is a basic, but important, concept of the triangle used to gain easy entry into the post and also to give a clear read of how the defense is playing the post.

As the center shapes up in the post, the center seeks to establish a 45 degree passing angle between himself  and the basket.  The direct line between the center and the basket is termed the "line of deployment."  This line should bisect the basket at a 45 degree angle.  If the ball handler is in the wing position, which is also at a 45 degree angle, then the basket, the post and the wing will all be in a direct line to the basket along the line of deployment.  To play a standard defensive position between the center and the basket, the defender of the center must play behind the center (as long as the center remains on the line of deployment), creating an easy entry pass.

Using this theory, as long as the center shapes up along the line of deployment, a pass from the wing to the center along the line of deployment should be possible.  If the defender of the center chooses to overplay (either the baseline side, or as the Thunder tend to do, the highside) then the man in the wing will easily be able to recognize the open side of the center and make a decision from there.

For example, in the solo between Bynum and Gasol, Bynum shaped up along the line of deployment.

But Krstic went to front and Gasol saw the overplay to the highside.  From here, Gasol could throw the lob pass to the open side of the center, dribble to the corner to create a better passing angle but Gasol choose to reverse the ball.

Back to the play.

- Bynum has come across the lane and shaped up on the line of deployment to form the triangle.
- Ron has received the N.1 pass from Fisher and is now in the "key" position, the "strong side wing" (remember, this is called the key position because the pass made from this position, the number 2 pass, will key the next sequence of options in the offense).
- Kobe is in the corner (after he threw the initial pass, he cut to the weak side corner, which has become the strong side corner after the ball was swung).
- Fisher is at "defensive balance."
- Pau is at the "weak side wing."

Because Bynum has properly shaped up along the line of deployment, the ideal passing angle has been created: the basket, Krstic, Bynum, Durant, the ball and Ron are all along the line of deployment.  However, Durant's length is preventing Ron from making the entry pass.  Westbrook is playing off Fisher, so Ron reverses the ball.

4) N.2 pass to the top

The N.2 pass to the top keys two actions:
A. Weakside wing (Gasol) to the pinch post

B. Strongside wing (Ron) runs a "rebound screen cut" to free the corner man (Kobe).

5. Gasol recieves the pass from Fisher in the pinch post.

6. Gasol shuffle passes to Fisher.

Tex Winter is a known fanatic of the footwork and passing from the pinch post.  Here Gasol makes a beautiful shuffle pass (where the ball remains on the same plane the entire flight of the pass) and uses his body to screen Westbrook.  The footwork for this pass and screen is another basic triangle staple that is stressed  by the coaching staff.

7. Alley-oop.

As Fisher comes around, Krstic goes to help and Bynum is left alone and waiting in the "freeze" spot (the opposite block).  Fisher makes a great read and lets the ball fly for Bynum to finish.


  1. This play seems to tear the Thunder appart completely. Fish could also have dropped the ball of to Gasol.

  2. perfect execution in real time. i am impressed. only wish my team can train this triangle