Beginning The Press


Most teams will take the ball out of bounds on the right side of the floor, which is the left side of defense (as shown in diagram 7), since most teams tend to be righthanded. If that is the case we want to keep them on our left and cut down the area that we need to cover. X4 who is on the ball will overplay the middle and try to influence the pass to the left corner. X2 covers the left side of the floor from the free throw line extended to the baseline. X3, who begins on the right side of the floor, is opposite the ball so he will show to the middle and take away any pass into the lane, while still being able to recover to a long pass on the right side of the floor.

X1 will also show to the left side of the floor or whichever side the ball is being inbounded on. Perhaps more than anyone else X1 must read the offense and anticipate.

If the offense has everyone in the backcourt, X5 is able to come up to the half-court area to increase the defensive pressure, but still has basket responsibility.

In diagram 7, the ball is being inbounded to the corner on the left side of the floor. Diagram 8 shows the defense reacting to the inbounds pass and beginning to form the trap. All five defenders must react when the ball is in the air. Again, anticipation is the key!

When the ball is inbounded on the left side of the floor, X4 will form the inside trap and X2 will form the top of the trap, as shown in diagram 9. It is important that X4 and X2 stay big and active in the trap without reaching in. We are trying to force turnovers, not commit mistakes. If we reach in and foul we are obviously commiting a mistake, plus it makes no sense to foul someone 80 feet from the basket. If we do go for the ball, we want to go in hard with both hands. This way we are more likely to steal the ball and less likely to commit a foul in the process. Keep in mind that defensive help in a diamond press is in the middle of the floor, so we must not let the offense beat the trap up the sideline. If the offensive player being trapped tries to reverse pivot to go away from pressure, both X2 and X4 chest up on the player with the ball and take away that step permanentely. If the player with the ball tries to step through the trap, both X2 and X4 should stand their ground and attempt to draw the offensive foul.

As the ball was inbounded on the left side, X3 moved the ball side. X3 must read the offense and anticipate the next pass or the pass out of the trap. If, on the first trap, the ball is passed back to the player who took the ball out of bounds, the next time X3 will take away that pass and not get beat by the same pass twice in a row. The reason is simple, if something works once the offense is more likely to try that same pass again.

X1 has moved ball side and is in intercept position, trying to take away the next pass up the floor.

X5 has basket responsibility, but if the offensive team brings all five players on one side of half-court, X5 is able to move up to increase the pressure on the offense and anticipate the cross court lob pass. If someone were to break to the basket, X5 still has basket responsibility. If X5 attempts to intercept the cross court lobpass, X1 must get back to protect the basket. This action is shown in diagram 10 above.

If the ball is returned to the inbounder, as shown in diagram 11, we will return to our original press positions and we will attempt to get another trap. Diagram 12 showsa us back in our original press positions. This is the only situation in which we will trap again. If the ball had been passed down the floor, we would have sprinted to the lane and assumed our half-court man to man defense.

In this situation the first pass out of the trap was returned to the in-bounder. Next time the ball is trapped on the left side of the floor, X3 will take away the return pass back to the in-bounder. According to our diamond press rules, we are not going to get beat by the same pass twice in a row. The reason for this is simple, people are creatures of habit, if a pass worked once the offensive team is likely to try the same pass again. We want to force the offense to make another decision and have to either try something else or make a more difficult pass that we may be able to intercept.

If the offensive team takes the ball out of bounds to our right side, as shown in diagram 13, we want to cut down space and distance and keep them on the right side of the floor. Again, we want to keep the offense away from the lane area and force them to catch the ball near the corner, where we can use the endline and the sideline as two more defenders. X4 will guard the person taking the ball out of bounds, shading towards the middle to keep the ball out of the lane area. X3 is covering the right side of the floor and X2 is covering the left side, but X2 is showing towards the middle, because the ball is being inbounded opposite of X2’s side of the floor.

X1 will again show towards ball side, in this case the right side of the floor. X5 again is able to come up to the half-court area, but still has basket responsibility.

In Diagram 14, the ball is being inbounded to our right. All five defenders must react when the ball is in the air. X4 and X3 move to form the trap, X2 moves ball side to cover any pass back to the middle, X1 reacts to cover the next pass up the floor from the ball and X5 will cover the long cross court pass, but most importantly X5 has basket responsibility.

Diagram 15 shows the completion of the trap and our new defensive positions on the court.

If a pass is made out of the trap and down the floor towards our opponent’s basket, as shown in diagram 16, we will get back to our half-court defense. As you recall, our defensive trap rule is “one and done,” meaning one trap and we get back to our half-court man to man defense. Once a succesful pass is made out of the trap, we do not want to chase the ball down the floor. We want to get back and play solid half-court defense. When a pass is made out of the trap, X4, X3, and X2 sprint back to the paint and find their people from the inside out, looking to stop the lay-up first. The only exception would be if one of the defenders are guarding a good 3 point shooter. If that is the case, we need to pick up the 3 point shooter further out on the floor. As X4, X3 and X2 are getting back on defense it is up to X1 to stop the ball andX5 to protect the basket.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.