Perhaps the best place to begin discussing the Shuffle Offense is with the court positions. These positions form an overload on either side of the court. As the offense flows from one side of the court to the other and back again each player will fill all of the spots. This is called the "Change of Sides." We do not use the terms guards, forwards and center, we instead name each position in the offense.
For the purpose of simplicity in the following diagrams, we will number each position:
#1 will always start as the first cutter
#2 will always start as the second cutter
#3 will always start as the feeder
#4 will always start as the post man
#5 will always start as the point man. (Diagram 1)
It must be stressed that players know these positions and their names. This will click into mind each player's responsibility and thus triggering his scoring options.
As the players move through the offense the numbers will remain constant so that you can follow each individual player's movements more easily. This numbering system also works with our numbered fast break that will be covered in the chapter titled "Fast Break into the Shuffle Offense."
The heart of the Deweyville Shuffle Offense is the "Basic Cut." While this is but one of the many options within the offense, it remains a key to its successful execution. As each position and its responsibilities are covered it is important to recognize these within the total concept of the offense as illustrated in Diagrams 1 and 2. Each of the following explanations refers to that position's resposibilities in the Basic Cut.
Diagram 3: FIRST CUTTER TO POINT PASS
FIRST CUTTER: The first cutter sets up free throw line extended outside the three point line. The first cutter begins the Basic Cut by passing to the point man. He then sets up his defender so as to run him into the screen set by the post man. He then makes a strong cut off the post man looking for a pass from the feeder as shown in Diagram 4.
Diagram 4: POINT TO FEEDER PASS
POINT MAN: The point man's job is to swing the ball to the feeder, who is on the weak side of the court. The point man is head on to the basket anywhere from the three point line to three to four feet higher. He moves this three to four feet higher if he has to in order to assure the success of the first cutter to point pass. It is important to the offense that the point man swing the ball to the feeder quickly.
FEEDER: The feeder should line up in tight, as deep as the block on the free throw lane. As the first cutter passes to the point man, the feeder should fake inside to the basket. He should then release (Diagram 3) to catch the pass from the point man. The feeder should receive the ball free throw line extended behind the three point line as shown in Diagram 4. As soon as the feeder catches the pass it is important that he square up to the basket, as now the true scoring opportunities of the offense begin. The timing of the play should be such that the feeder receives the ball with enough time to make a quick individual drive to the basket or shoot an uncontested shot from this spot. This means the first cutter must coordinate his cut to the basket with this in mind, as in Diagram 5.
Before we go any further in the explanation of the positions, it is important that we fully understand the movement of the offense up to this point. Timing is very important to the Basic Cut, the movement of these three players should appear as if happening simultaneously, and happening in such a manner as to provide the maximum opportunity for scoring.
Diagrams 6 and 7: Basic Cuts - Over-the-Top and Back-Door
Refer to Diagram 1 and picture the five court positions and their names. The first cutter has brought the ball down the court and is in his position. He keeps his dribble alive until he is ready to pass to the point man. As the first cutter is dribbling into his position the point man takes his defender to the free throw line and then releases straight back out to receive the pass from the first cutter. This V-cut move opens up the pass from the first cutter to the point man. The feeder, who is set up on the offside lane as low as the block, sees the pass from the first cutter to the point, he V-cuts to the basket, and quickly pops out to his position free throw line extended behind the three point line to receive the pass from the point man. The feeder receives the pass, squares up to the basket, and quickly analyzes his own scoring options (drive or shot). The first cutter, after passing to the point, hesitates momentarily while at the same time setting his man up for the screen by the post man. This hesitation allows for the pass from the point to the feeder. As the ball is passed to the feeder, the first cutter explodes into his cut to the basket. His full intent is to rub his defender off on the post man's screen, then cut hard to the basket and receive a pass from the feeder for a layup as illustrated in Diagram 6. If the first cutter's defender is expecting this screen and overplays, a back-door cut by the first cutter is very effective, as illustrated in Diagram 7.
The action just described is but a part of the Basic Cut. But as you can see we have already been presented with several high percentage scoring opportunities. The drive or jump shot by the feeder, and the pass from the feeder to the first cutter on his cut to the basket.
Now let us include the explanation of the other two positions.
Diagrams 8 and 9: Positioning and Scoring of the Second Cutter
SECOND CUTTER: The second cutter first lines up in a position in the corner three to four feet from the baseline and behind the three point line. As the first cutter makes his move past the post man, the second cutter moves to a spot even with the post man as shown in Diagram 8. His purpose it to use the post man as a screen. In the same manner as the first cutter, he will rub his defender off the post man so as to have a scoring opportunity coming over the top on a hard cut to the ballside post position as shown in Diagram 9.
POST: The post man sets up in the high-medium post position just below the free throw line. His first assignment in the Basic Cut is to provide an effective screen for both the first cutter and the second cutter. The post man must move to find the defenders on the cutters and set a legal proper screen. Once the post has screened for the first cutter he must immediately think about the second cutter using him as a screen. These screens provide opportunities for possible scores but also continues the continuity of the Basic Cut.
Diagram 10: Point Screen for Post
After the second cutter makes his cut, the point man will screen for the post and then move into the new feeder position. The post will cut off the point's screen and become the new point man.
We have now run the Basic Cut for one "Change of Sides." Before we continue our discussion of the continuity of the offense and how it fills the other side of the court, let's review the scoring options one more time. Players must fully understand when and where they can score, so that there movements within the Basic Cut will have the purpose of bring about these scoring opportunities.
The first time through the Basic Cut, the feeder is the first player with scoring opportunities. He can make a drive to the basket or a jump shot from the spot he received the pass from the point. His next option is to pass to the first cutter who is breaking through the lane to the basket for a possible score. If the first cutter is not open, the feeder then looks for the second cutter coming over the top for a jump shot in the lane. His next option is to look for the post coming off the point's screen for a shot at the point position. These are four very potent scoring opportunities already presented in the Shuffle Offense to this point.
The continuity factor in the Basic Cut makes the Shuffle Offense a very powerful offensive weapon. As the offense flows from one side to the other in the "Change of Sides" all players will rotate through each of the five positions. This factor makes it very difficult to defend. Even if the defense is effective in shuuting down scoring options the first time through the "Change of Sides", or a second time, eventaully a defensive man will be moved out of position, giving one of our players a good shot at the basket. To defend the Basic Cut "Change of Sides", each defensive player will be required to defend his man in each of the five positions, thus putting more pressure on his defensive abilities.
Diagram 11: Pattern - Continuity and Reset
Illustrated here are the routes and new positions assumed by each player after the Basic cut is executed once. To simplify, look at the following:
First Cutter -to- Second Cutter
Second Cutter -to- Post
Post -to- Point
Point -to- Feeder
Feeder -to- First Cutter
Now let us take each player and explain how he reaches his next position.
Diagram 12: First Cutter to Second Cutter
FIRST CUTTER: As the first cutter comes off the post's screen he should be prepared to do one of three things:
His first role is as a rebounder, in case the feeder takes the shot.
His second role is as a scorer. When he sees the feeder has not made an individual move, he should look to receive the pass for a layup. This means he must be ready to catch the ball and shoot.
His third role is to continue the continuity of the offense. If he does not receive the pass from the feeder, he continues on through the lane to the corner position and becomes the second cutter.
Diagram 13: Second Cutter to Post
SECOND CUTTER: After rubbing his defensive man off the post, the second cutter must be ready to catch the pass in the lane for the jump shot. If he does not receive the ball, he then sets up to become the new post. One of the little techniques that applies to the second cutter is where he sets up in his new position as the post. When the second cutter does not receive the ball, he first should set up slightly lower and in good rebounding position along the free throw lane so as to open up the middle for the post, who is coming off the screen by the point. He will then adjust his position higher to where he is in a better position to screen for the first cutter.
Diagram 14: Point to Feeder
POINT: The five things the point must be prepared to do, as shown in Diagram 14 are:
Look to score
Swing the ball quickly to the feeder
Decoy his defender to keep him out of the lane
Headhunt the post's defender and set a legal and proper screen
Set himself up in the feeder position.
Diagram 15: Post to Point
POST: The post should come off the point's screen ready to shoot. He has now become the new point man as in Diagram 15. Once he becomes the new point he must open up a passing lane between himself and the first cutter and be prepared to swing the ball quickly to the feeder.
Diagram 16: Feeder to First Cutter
FEEDER: We've already discussed how the feeder looks to score, then to pass to the first cutter, then the second cutter and finally to the post coming off the point's screen. If the feeder sees that all these options are closed he now becomes the first cutter. The Basic Cut "Change of Sides" starts over again with his pass to the point man.
By following the Shuffle Offense through five Basic Cuts "Change of Sides" you will see that each player will play all five positions. And after five Basic Cuts "Change of Sides" each player will be back at his original position but on the opposite side of the court.