Before I discuss Transition, I want to point out a dynamic of the Read & React Offense that is difficult to chart, difficult to teach, even difficult to point out, but something that every Read & React coach knows is true: A sizeable amount of SCORING OPPORTUNITIES are created by “Shuffling the Deck”, i.e., moving the ball, moving players, maintaining spacing until THE DEFENSE IS DISORGANIZED and one of your players takes advantage. Some are fond of defining the Read & React as “shuffling the deck” until there is a DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWN that can be taken advantage of. Either way, it’s the same thing to me: DISORGANIZED = BREAKDOWN = SCORING OPPORTUNITY.
In fact, I think a Read & React Player could be defined as a player who has been trained to RECOGNIZE defensive breakdowns and TAKE ADVANTAGE with the right action at the right time.
Think about Pin & Skips, Draft Drives, Read Line cuts, Curl the Puppydog, Killing Close-Outs, Real Estate Drives, hitting the cutter at the right time, the Natural Pitch, Safety Valve, etc. All of these are taught from a defensive breakdown standpoint: “WHEN YOU SEE THE DEFENSE DO ___, THEN YOU ARE TO ___.”
This is why I like Read & React teams to push the ball up the floor on makes, misses, or steals. Transition begins whenever there is a change of possession and during transition, your opponent’s defense is in its LEAST ORGANIZED STATE.
During transition, you don’t have to “Shuffle the Deck”. The deck is being shuffled because it’s TRANSITION! The Read & React should begin as soon as your team gains possession – not when they reach the half-court and settle into their SPOTS!
We don’t need all 5 players across the half-line to begin! We don’t even need to be across the half-line! We should be spacing, running with spacing in mind, and reading the ballhandler like we are trained to do. As an example, whenever the ballhandler passes, whether in the backcourt or frontcourt, he/she should be changing gears and cutting toward the basket!
When we do cross the half-line, we only need 2 players for the half-court action to begin. The rest of the team can read the situation and fill in as they come across half-court. Screeners can attack the most disorganized defenders right away!
Attack your opponent during transition, when they are the most disorganized, and never let them GET organized! Keep them on their heels until you find your scoring opportunity.
Transition vs Set It Up
It is our sincere hope that we can provide you with every tool necessary to improve not only as a Read & React coach, but as a basketball coach as a whole. We look forward to working closely with you this season.