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On offense, there is no more important aspect to playing basketball than playing in the post.  Getting the basketball into the post is the most essential part of any offense in that the offense can score more points per possession and have a lower turnover percentage.  However, many coaches still do not realize the importance of great post play.

Post play involves several fundamental aspects that can be taught and incorporated into any offense.  This article will present moves for your big men as to how they can get open and moves they can use to score the basketball or get other teammates involved.  The article will also present different ways bigs need to play in offenses that involve dribble penetration by perimeter players and how post play works in four around one and three around two offenses.

Moves for Getting Open

There are six basic moves that can be used to get open in the low post.  Namely, these moves will work when the post is isolated inside by himself.  Three of the moves will help him get the ball when he is a help-side post and three others when he starts out as a ball-side post.

The first of these moves is to call for the lob pass from help side (Diagram 1).  This happens when the defensive man guarding the post has overcompensated on help defense and is on the ball-side side of the basket.  When this happens, the big man, who is help side puts up his outside hand and calls for the lob pass.

Diagram 1

The next two moves deal with a help-side defender who requires contact to get open.  When playing help-side defense, the help defender will either play the man below the passing lane or will be above or at the passing lane.  When either of these happens, we will be prepared to get our big man open so that he can catch the basketball.  These moves are only be used when the ball-side post is vacated and we need to get a player to the ball-side post.

Diagram 2 shows what happens when the help-side defender is playing below the passing lane.  Here, we want the big man to make contact with the defender using his chest and spinning over the top to post.  The reason is twofold: we do not want to use our hands because that will attract the attention of officials who are looking to call fouls and we want to seal defenders whenever possible.

Meanwhile, Diagram 3 shows what happens when the defender plays on or above the passing lane from the ball to the help-side post player.  This time, the same maneuver is used as in Diagram 2 except that we are going to spin low and post.

Diagram 2

Diagram 3

Next, this article explains the three ball-side moves that must be made by the low post if he is going to get open to receive the basketball.  The post player will have to work even harder to get the ball on the ball side than on the help side.  The resistance will be greater because of the post player being on the same side as the ball.

The first maneuver to get open is called "working the 'C'".  This is a move that I got from Danny Manning and it is designed to help the big man set up his man for either a post entry pass from another perimeter player or for a post entry.  The big man works up the floor in a semi-circular motion as shown in Diagram 4.  If the defender is not careful, we can get the entry pass.  If not, we can pass the basketball to another perimeter player and use a different move to get open in the post.

Diagram 4

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