Posting Up or Backing Down: Creating Pockets of Space

Luka Doncic posting up

Advanced basketball analytics have driven NBA teams to put a premium on three point attempts per game and, in doing so, teams have essentially doubled the amount of made three pointers per game over the 10 last seasons. While you have players like Steph Curry knocking down long 3’s with only a sliver of space there are still many highly effective players that are still posting up or backing down to create space. Some of the best players in the league including, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum, all spend time playing with their back to the basket whether it is to score or to create scoring opportunities for teammates.

While the pace and space trend is surely not going away, it is wise to keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to play and that we probably shouldn’t totally abandon the post-up even if we don’t have an effective #5 man. With that said, here are a few additional reminders:

  • Most teams you will play DO NOT practice post defense very much (if at all) with their perimeter players.
  • Matchups are everything.  You will have players who can isolate certain defenders on the perimeter or in the post or both.
  • A post up can be a quick-hitter when you don’t have time or want to use time.
  • A post up can act as a change-up even if you otherwise spread the floor.
  • A post up can be a 2-3 second option after a cut in a spread offense.  
  • One’s personnel might dictate that you can’t pace or space as much as the trend dictates or that you would like.    

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