A common question often asked of me is: “What is the best style of play for the Read & React?”

Is it establishing an inside game and working from there?
Is it a 5 OUT “Princeton” style?
Is it a style that goes deep into each possession, depending on the defense to break down?
Does a passing game versus a screening game create a better style of play?
Of course, you should know by now that this is the wrong way to look at the Read & React. The Read & React is the best system to fit your personnel – whatever it is.

But there is a “style of play” that brings out the best in the Read & React and I’m going to discuss how it applies to each Layer in the next few articles. If I can effectively communicate this “style” to you, it will effect how you teach it, how your players view each basketball action, and most importantly, how you play.

The Read & React is made in such a way that TAKING TURNS with the lane will be your best style of play. Sell your team on whose turn it is to score with each action and if it fails, then whose turn is it next? And after his/her turn, who’s next, so forth and so on.


Player A passes EW to Player B. It’s A’s turn for a chance to score in the lane. (See Layer 1 Action A: Cutting)
If A does not get the ball, then B has a chance to Draft Drive or Real Estate Drive. (See Layer 1 Action C: Spacing)
If B does not take the opportunity, then who’s next? Player C filling the empty spot has an opportunity to score with a Read Line, Puppydog, Open Shot, or Mo’Move. (See Layer 1 Action B: Filling)
If C does not take the opportunity, but receives the pass from B, then who’s TURN is it? Player B, who passed, has started this chain of CHANCES all over again. (See Layer 1 Action A: Cutting)
A’s turn, B’s turn, C’s turn, now back to B’s turn, followed by whoever fills B’s spot, etc. Message: WE TAKE TURNS WITH THE LANE AND WITH SCORING OPPORTUNITIES!


Let’s get into Layer 2 from the Pass & Cut action of Layer 1:

Player A passes to Player B and cuts to the basket. But Player A is well defended. (See Layer 1 Action A: Cutting)
It’s now Player B’s turn to Drive if the opportunity there. Let’s pretend it’s closed. (See Layer 1 Action C: Spacing)
Player A decides to post up. Player B feeds the post (North-South Pass). Upon catching the ball, Player B has a chance to score immediately – perhaps a LOB or a SWEET situation (see Layer 2 Action A: Score on the Pass)
If Player B does not score, then it’s Player A’s TURN to score in the lane. Player A makes a Laker Cut. (See Layer 2 Action B: The Passer’s Opportunity)
If Player A does not score off the Laker Cut, then the opportunity switches back to Player B who can score after the Laker Cut goes by. (See Layer 2 Action C: Score After the Cut)
If Player B does not make a post move to score after the cutter goes by, then the opportunity switches to players C, D and E who are filling empty spots along the perimeter. (See Layer 2 Action D: Perimeter Scores)
Hopefully you can see how the opportunities switch from player to player and it’s usually centered around using the lane – one player at a time.

If you teach the Read & React with this language, emphasizing this “style of play”, your team will know:

Who to be looking for,
When to look for them,
Where to look for them,
Why they can’t cut into the lane anytime that they feel like it, and
When it’s their turn and when it’s not.
If you want to talk about your players understanding or not understanding the offense, this philosophy, this style of play, is what you need to communicate to them. They must understand MY TURN, YOUR TURN, MY TURN, YOUR TURN.

Next week, we’ll look at Layer 3: DRIBBLE EAST-WEST through this lens.