To V-Cut or Not to V-Cut

For years, it’s been drilled into us that we should v-cut to get away from the defense and receive the basketball. Almost every player executes this move in one of three spots; the two wings and the top of the key. As a coach, this move doesn’t do anything for us or our program. We want our players learning how to execute a rear cut instead for several reasons.

The questions that I’m often asked when I make this statement are what if you have a good three point shooter?  And What if you have a really good one on one player?

Read on to find out how we get these players their opportunities without relying on V-Cuts. V-Cuts aren’t a good fit because they:

  1. Waste Energy Levels | Using a V-Cut to get open, means that you are trying to fool your defender thinking you’re cutting backdoor, but you end up stepping back out behind the arc. This usually requires players to take a couple of steps into their markers, make contact and then sharply cut away. If this doesn’t get you open, you usually just repeat, which really is quite a sight for spectators.
  2. Create Cheap Fouls | This doesn’t happen a lot, but I’ve seen it a enough times to feel that it warrants a mention. Some players make the initial contact for the V-Cut so excessively, that the referee has no choice but to blow his whistle. Then you realise, the player in question wasn’t a shooter or even an offensive threat. So, you just hurt your team for WHAT?
  3. Get Players Moving Away | In trying to get open with a v-cut, your movements take you farther and further away from the basket, which really doesn’t help your offense at all. Effective offenses are designed to help you get closer to the basket for an easy deuce.
  4. The Defender is still There | Okay, your movements have now got you open and you have received a pass. Your defender is still right in front of you, between you and the basket. If you’re not a great offensive player, this is the point where you pass the ball away and repeat all that useless energy wasting again to receive the ball AGAIN!! If you’re a decent threat, this is where you now attempt to take your player one on one and the help-side defense is still waiting for you if you succeed.
  5. Allow Defenses to Reset | When you receive the ball after getting open from a V-Cut; unless you attack instantly, which very few players do; your defender has the chance to reset his stance and get ready for your next move. The idea behind any successful offense is to keep the defense off balance which is done by getting them to constantly shift and not allow them to reset.
  6. Take you to Lower Scoring Area | Using a V-Cut to get you open allows you to receive the ball in a lower scoring % area. The best shooters in the game are 40% shooters, while taking lay-ups equals 80% worst case scenario. Good offenses attack the higher scoring percentage areas, which will naturally free up their shooters. Would you rather take a 40% shot or an 80% shot?
  7. Haven’t Engaged Help-Side Defense | Because V-Cuts take you away from the red zone; you don’t actually engage any help-side defenders. They’re all still in the same position watching their players, who are probably doing the same thing you’re doing.
  8. Cherry Points | Getting to the free-throw line becomes a lot more easier if you swapped V-Cutting for executing sharp back door cuts. With you finishing a couple of easy lay-ups, the defense would now start over helping and trying to block your shots, which equals the old fashioned 3 point play.
  9. Creating for Teammates | When you begin to pull over the help-side defense, this is when you will create for your teammates as the defenders are now forced to rotate and help, leaving one of your teammates wide open. If you have an excellent 3 point shooter, this is his time to shine.

I understand completely that they are certain sets/plays that require a player to receive the ball on a wing and it might require a v-cut to get him there, but this should be the exception as opposed to the go to move.

If players learned how to execute a rear cut, as opposed to v-cuts, they would force the defense to constantly guard this action, be a scoring threat as they’re attacking the basket, they would engage help-side defenders and the best part about this is, even if they don’t receive the ball, they’re still taking away the immediate help-side defense from the ball handler. Stick your best one on one player here and he they’ll be nobody to play help-side

Furthermore, because most defenses are lazy, if you execute a couple of back door/ rear cuts, the defenders will naturally start sagging giving you space for that 3 pointer you’ve been dying to jack up.

If you’re that shooter or good one on one player, now is your time. Get to work.

I appreciate any thoughts or comments that you may have

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