Help to Defend Low Post

Although post players have their own defenders, defending the low post must also be considered a team responsibility and it forms an important part of the team defensive scheme.

Help When Defending Low Post from Behind

If the low post is defended from behind, help from teammates comes from the perimeter, in front of the post player.

Having good pressure on the person with the ball will make it hard to pass to the post. Also, x1 may “float” and be in a position to prevent or intercept the pass.

If the post player does receive the ball, the perimeter defenders should be ready to “help” – either full help (“double team”) or help and recover.

If the perimeter player closest to the post (x3) double teams, the post player’s most likely pass is back to the perimeter player. Defender’s rotate on that pass to ensure there is no open perimeter shot.

Alternatively, perimeter players may “help and recover” by stepping towards the post player to pressure their decision, but then returning to their own player (e.g. x3).

In this situation x3 plays in an open stance, “butt to the baseline” – with their back to the baseline - so that they have sight of both 5 and 3.

Help when Fronting Low Post

Where the low post is being fronted (either from the side or fully from in front) help must come from the “split” line.

5 is being fully fronted by x5 (meaning the defender is between the passer and the low post player) and x1 is denying a pass back to 1. Therefore the most likely pass to the post is a lob pass.

x4 must be alert to move to intercept the lob pass. x2 would rotate to help x4 and x5 should recover into the keyway.

Once a pass is made to the post player, x1 may also rotate into the keyway to “help the helper” as x4 has moved to intercept the pass (“first rotation”) and x2 has rotated to the basket (“secondary rotation”).

x5 can either stay to pressure the post player or can rotate to defend 1.

Often teams double team the low post player when they receive the ball. Where that double team comes from depends upon how the low post player is defended.

If the post defender (x5) is on the high side, the help comes from the low defender (x4) on the split line.

As x4 rotates to double team, x2 rotates down and is now defending 4 and must keep sight of them.

Similarly, x1 rotates to the top of the key and is responsible for both 1 and 2 (and must keep vision of them).

If the post defender is standing on the baseline side of the post player, the help or double team comes from the high “split line” defender (x2).

Again, x1 rotates to the top of the key.

In order to prevent help coming from the split line, some offences will attempt to move defenders from the “split line”. Here 4 cuts to the high post. If x4 stays at the basket, 4 would be open to receive a pass and could shoot or pass to the low post player.

To combat this, x1 or x2 may move towards the keyway to be able to intercept any pass to 4, and x4 may make a small movement towards 4 so that they can still intercept a pass to 5. They are also closer to 4 and can move to them quickly if they receive a pass.

Similarly, 1 & 2 may cut to the “strong side” in order to force x1 and x2 to move away from positions where they can help.

To combat this, x4 may play a “floating” position, staying in the keyway and leaving Player 4 relatively open to receive a pass. x2 also may stay closer to the foul line to pressure the pass, but this will depend upon whether or not Player 2 is a perimeter shooter.

Alternatively, where an offensive team is proficient at “clearing the split line”, the defence may opt for a different defensive scheme than fronting the low post.