Communication - Essential and detrimental to our success on defense. Everyone has got to be on the same page. Something I learned by working with Kevin Eastman was "Talk loud. Talk early. Talk often!" Kevin's work with Doc Rivers and the Celtics has added the rule of three. Verbalize things three times, "Pick right, pick right, pick right!" or "Switch, switch, switch!"
Transition - Must quickly change gears once the opponent has secured possession of the ball. Responsibilities: Ball stop, Ball side denial, Opposite help, Up big, and Basket big. Guards verbalize their responsibilities. Bigs sprint to half court, communicate up or basket, and play up the floor from there.
Ball Pressure - Tremendous on ball pressure! We want to turn the ball handler 3-times before half court. Defense determines where the offense is allowed to go. Where the ball is, a hand is! We want to get deflections. Deflections lead to steals. Steals lead to quick baskets. Quick baskets lead to us repeating the process.
Early Help - Force the ball handler to put the ball on the floor and "Early Help" to make him pick it up. Jab and retreat at a dribbler from deny and help positions. If the dribbler gets out of control, take a charge from deny or help positions. Do not leave your teammate on an island! On ball defense is much more effective if the on ball defender knows he has help.
Front the Post - We aggressively defend the paint like our lives depended on it. 3/4 on the high side when the ball is in the middle third of the court. "Knock down elbows" and step through to front. Hands up and take up space. Treat this as if you were posting up on offense. When the ball is reversed, spin off the shoulders around to the 3/4 deny. (I will be talking more in-depth about how I want my players to defend the post later)
All 5 on a Side - When the ball has chosen a side of the floor, we want all 5 of our players on ball side of the midline. We want to aggressively keep the ball on one side of the floor. The only option for the offense to reverse the ball is by skip pass. No reversal and no paint!
Rotate - Sprint to spots and communicate spots. I will be discussing various defensive rotations in later posts.