Friday, August 10, 2012

Dwight Howard's Role in the Princeton Offense


For those of you that visit the subreddit /r/nba, you may remember about a week ago I put together some plays out of the Princeton Offense designed primarily for the PG called the Chin Series. In light of the Dwight Howard trade, I thought there would be some interest in plays in the Princeton Offense designed primarily for the C - the Princeton Low Series.

Synergy Comparisons

(click for larger images)




The Low Series modifies the typical 4-out-1-in high set by setting the inside man at the low post rather than around the elbows.

This is the format the Magic ran and puts Dwight in a familiar position of low post scoring or finding open perimeter players and cutters.

Keying the Offense

The strong side wing player will feed the low post and keys the offense based on his movement afterward.

Option 1: Perimeter Screen

He may call for a screen at the elbow to create some cutting options or play a two man game with the post player.

By setting the perimeter screen on the strong side elbow, the defense has the additional difficulty in deciding to double off a perimeter player down to the post.

Option 2: Weak Side Corner Fill

If the post feeder cuts to the weak side corner, Howard can try to set up a give and go or let the offense rotate along the perimeter to create other options.

Option 3: Strong Side Corner Fill/Spread-High Transition

If the post feeder cuts to the strong side corner, Gasol will receive a screen to the top allowing the Spread Princeton High Series to start.

Option 4: High Series Transition

Alternatively, a transition to the standard Princeton set can be accomplished by flashing Dwight to the high post and rotating the weak side.

Option 5: High-Low

If the defense tries to front the post, the strong side top of the arc should clear to the corner and Gasol should flash to the free throw line to create a high-low passing angle.

Option 6: Dribble Reversal

If the low post option isn't available and the pass to the top is denied, the perimeter player will attempt to cut backdoor for a layup. If that pass isn't available, the ballhandler will dribble to the top looking to reverse the ball and begin the Spread Princeton High Series. If that pass isn't available, Dwight will set a screen for a cut down the lane or to feed the wing.


By altering the placement of perimeter players the offense can present different looks intended to take advantage of different strengths - perimeter shooting, low post scoring, cutting options, high-low plays, and numerous others. By combining the Low Series and the Chin Series, the offense can take advantage of the strengths that Nash and Howard bring to the Lakers.

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