Contributed by Brett Ayers.
Email the author at mikeness71@hotmail.com

On my way down to the promised land on Tuesday night I sat on the plane which was running a bit late, go figure, and diagrammed out a new series of delayed breaks. Delayed breaks situations can come a lot more often than regular 3 on 2 breaks. The other team can make a basket and you can push the ball up the court and run a delayed break still as they look to match up and or get into their zone. In this delayed break I have come up with, the point guard will indicate which one of the 2 sets will be run. It is explained a bit later. I sat there thinking about the game today and about the shot clock and how it has changed the game and actually made running a delayed break a lot more of a necessity than it used to be. Of course, the father of the delayed break could be considered to be DES (Dean Smith). The thing with the old Carolina push through fast break with the four man coming down on the delay to set the pick for the wing player buttoning hooking under then popping up to the top of the key area and the down pick from the five on the weakside for the other wing for the look inside from the top and or the reverse to the weakside is that everyone and their brother knows this delayed break set and can and usually does a few things to shut it down.

One of the aspects of defense when getting back that is almost always the case is between 2 and 10 seconds of confusion. Within this confusion you get a lot of defenders either too far off their men, or as most often is the case too close to them. One of the aspects of Dean's delayed break that used to actually improve transition defensive position is that it would keep the wing defenders high and they would not go very low because they knew that wing player was eventually going through and coming up through the center of the key or off of either 4 or 5's down pick.

I sat on that plane thinking about things that you could do in a delayed break situation that gives you two or three different options immediately but also plays as much as possible on that 2 to 15 seconds of defensive confusion. One of the basic tenants of half court basketball is get the ball inside first then have it come out. This has the effect of often collapsing the defense, even when perhaps your post is not some all awe inspiring inside threat. I sort of took that principle and applied it to what I call the "Sinker" delayed break series. In moving and cutting guys on the delayed break in the manner I am going to lay out, I am looking to create a similar collapse of the defense effect, but in doing so I hope to bring defenders on the individual basis into areas they are not used to defending and subsequently making help and recover situations nearly impossible and or at the very least create switches that will give immediate mismatches that can be taken advantage of. (this is written from the perspective of standing at half court and looking at the basket)

"Interior Sinker"- Or as I like to label it "Sinker 2" because you are looking for a shot inside the arc, in the paint preferably. In both breaks you want to try to get your 2 running the right lane, wide and your 3 running the left lane, wide. Now, they should always be able to run the other's lane and position without missing a beat. Your 1 should also know both positions as well. I have never understood a team with guys only knowing one position on any one set play or defense. Just beyond me in comprehending that as a fact with some teams.

Your 1 will push the ball up the right side where 2 is. He will try to hit up ahead to 2 as soon as it is possible. This will have the affect of immediately making his man have to come up and guard him and usually also has the affect of making 1's man drop back below the ball, though often in this confusion 1's defender will not do what he should do and will stick with 1 tightly.

3 will run the left lane and as the ball is passed to 2 on the right side 3 will cut all the way through to the right

"short corner". The short corner is located about seven feet straight off the low block, maybe even a foot below that going towards the corner. This cut to there has the effect of either making 3's defender get very close to him as 3 will be out of his line of vision if he tries to stay high as he would on the traditional Carolina delayed break knowing his man was most likely coming back up the middle. If 3's defender stays high 2 just hits 3 for an easy 7 footer or drive to hoop.

Who ever gets the rebound, either 4 or 5, the other will fill the middle lane, running right down the middle off of the left shoulder of the point guard and will run himself as fast as he can to the right side block but instead of posting up with his high foot on the block he will post up a bit higher with his low foot on the block facing 2 who now as the ball on the right side wing. If 4 is open 2 give him the ball immediately.

As 3 gets to that short corner, the final guy, who ever of the two big men got the rebound trails up to the top of the key area right off of the top of the key towards 2 on the wing.

Once 1 passes the ball to 2 on the right side he flares out to the left side wing where three has cut through leaving a gap on that side of the floor.

2 then passes the ball to the final trail man coming to the top of the key are just off of it a bit towards 2 on the right wing. As 2 passes to 5, 4 then steps down and out looking for 3's defender and sets a pick. 3 can come under or over that pick depending upon where his defender is and how he reacts to the pick. That is option number two. 3 can either get the under off of 4's pick for a reverse lay-in and or get the curl over the top of the pick. 4 rolls after 3 comes off the pick but only straight across parallel to the baseline and only a step or two as not to get in 3's way. If 4's man goes with 3, 5 should have no problem laying that bounce pass and or mini-lob down the lane to 4 who will be isolated on 3's man now.

3 does not get the ball he then fills out to the left side corner. As he does this, 5 then reverses the ball to 1 on the left wing. Now 5 might have to take a trap dribble in that direction. He can not just wantonly turn and throw the pass. If they try to cut that off, 1 can come and get the ball from 5 in a hand off and dribble the ball over to the left wing.

As 5 passes the ball to 1, 4 who set that pick for 3 in the short corner and of course rolled back to the block area. As 1 gets the ball, either by pass and or hand off, 4 then will cut from that low block area to the high post at the elbow are on the left side of the key. As he makes this cut, 5 cuts right down that right side of the lane. Sort of like a rub cut almost. As 5 gets to the block, he plants his left foot, and pivots around to seal his man who will most likely initially be low trying to stop the ball from being passed on the cut. 5 spins, rolls and pins with his butt getting wide in the lane. 1 passes the ball to 4 cutting to the high post who then goes high low with 5 sealing either giving him the bounce pass or the mini-lob.

If 4 is cut off from getting the ball at the high post then 4 steps out to the 3 point arc right straight up from that left side elbow and sets a pick for 1 who will come off of him hard into the middle either looking for 5 first or for that short jumper in the middle of the lane.

That is "Sinker 2" with emphasis on getting the ball inside with several different options.

Sinker 3- Basically the same exact set-up but with the emphasis on getting a 3 point shot this time. This version of the delayed break is the exact same. 3 on the left side, 2 on the right, 4 coming down the middle, 5 trailing and 1 getting the ball up to 2 as quickly as possible and then flaring to the left side as 3 cuts through to the short post.

After all of that is done, 5 once again trails to the top of the key area and gets a pass from 2 on the right wing. 4 steps off the block to set that pick for 3 in the short corner and 3 either comes over that pick or under.

But this time 3 stops at the left side block. 5 then reverses the ball to 1 on the left wing and 4 instead of coming to the high post steps up from where he is at, almost parallel with the lane and about two or three fee off the lane and sets a back pick on 2's defender. 2 runs off this back pick, under it, then off of 3 who is setting a pick on that left block area out to the left side corner area, preferably a bit higher up for the first look for a three ball from 2. Now two needs to read, he can come over those picks or the more traditional under route.

Once 2 comes off of 4's pick, 4 then cuts to that high post left side elbow again, though this time he will make a more straight across cut because he is setting this pick for 2 much higher up. As he cuts to the high post once again 5 rub cuts off of 4, more directly this time. But before spinning and pinning in the lane, 5 sets a baseline pick so that 3 can run straight off of it out to the right side. 3 simply looks for a good open place to spot up for the three himself.

So 1 who has the ball has the choice of giving it to 2 in the corner or three on the skip pass over the top anywhere 3 can find an opening and or feels most comfortable shooting the three point shot.

mikeness71@hotmail.com