Basketball U on Strongside/Weakside
Posted Sep 18 2002 9:34AM
When a team is on offense in their opponents' end of the court, the "strong" side is the side of the court where the ball is located. The "weak" side is the side of the court opposite the strong side (away from the ball). Imagine that there is a line that extends from the basket to midcourt, dividing the court into two equal parts. If a team starts their offense with the ball on the right side of the court, this is the strong side. However, as the ball gets passed, if it ends up on the left side, then that becomes the strong side. When a point guard sets up his team's offense, his teammates run the play using both the strong side and the weak side.
A strongside screen is a screen set for the player with the ball. If an offensive player drives past his defender on his way to the basket, another defender may come over from the weakside to play defense. This is called weakside help or help defense.
Some teams set up players on the strong and weak sides of the court, spacing themselves and drawing the defense. A team on offense can make their opponent work by passing the basketball from strong side to weak side, this is known as "swinging" or "reversing" the basketball. This tires the defense while the offense waits for the defense to make a mistake. This allows the offense to wear down the defense before they attempt to score. The Utah Jazz have enjoyed great success due in part to possessing one of the league's best offenses.
Isolation Plays: If teams have a star player, they may like to get him in situations where he has the ball and room to create a play. In an isolation play, four players stand on the weak side of the floor, bringing their defenders with them. The strong side is cleared out, allowing the offensive player to isolate or go one-on-one against the defensive player. Quick offensive players, such as the Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson, often have isolation plays run for them.
The Two-Man Game: With the two-man game, three players stand on the weak side of the floor, bringing their defenders with them. The other two players will be involved in the isolation (usually one in the post, one on the perimeter) where they will play a game of two-on-two on the strong side of the floor. One element of the two-man game is the pick-and-roll, an offensive play where a player sets a screen or pick for the player with the ball then moves toward the basket (or "rolls" to the basket) for a pass. Larry Bird and Robert Parish of the Boston Celtics combined to form one of the league's best two-man combinations in the 1980s.