Attacking the PNR Switching Defense with Boomerang Action by Chris Filios

PNR Switching Defense

Using the PNR Switching Defense has become a widely popular coverage at all levels of basketball. 

Switching the pick and roll serves many purposes for the defense: 

  • Takes away direct looks and scoring options 
  • Simple tactic if you have versatile personnel 
  • Does not require help or rotation from other defenders 
  • Can slow down the pace and rhythm of the offense 
  • Can force teams into play 1 v 1 basketball 

One way of attacking this PNR Switching Defense coverage is to “Boomerang.” The Boomerang action is whereas the guard comes off the ball screen and the defense has switched, the ball handler passes the ball to a teammate, spaces into a better attacking position, and receives the ball back ready to attack the mismatch. The ball is passed back and forth quickly just like a boomerang. 

Why use the Boomerang instead of just dribbling back out and attacking? 

Drawbacks of the back out dribble:

  1. A simple one…they miss an opportunity to hit the man on the roll for a lay-up or a high low pass on the post up.
  2. The ball has stopped moving and the offense has allowed the defense to achieve one of its primary goals in switching– kill ball movement and slow down the offense.
  3. Due to the lack of ball movement, the defense is loaded in their proper defensive position and can make it more difficult for the guard to make a play. They can load to the ball and dictate where they want the ball handler to go (with the bounce or the pass). Now the defense can dictate who is going to take the shot. 

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Positives to the Boomerang: 

  1. By throwing ahead, you can take advantage of an open roll man or throwing the ball high low into the post against the mismatch.
  2. The throw ahead creates ball movement…and when there is ball movement, there is player movement. On the dribble back, the defense does not have to shift and can load into help positions against the iso. Against the throw ahead, the defense must shift. This means that on the give back to the guard, he can quickly attack without the defense being in the proper position.
  1. More options for the guard. When the guard goes to throw the ball ahead off the ball screen, what is the first thing the defensive big is going to do? He is most likely going to drop. The big may drop either to help negate the hi-lo post pass or out of poor habits. How often does the 5 practice guarding on the perimeter (on or off the ball)? 
  2. Catch and shoot. Since the big drops down (either to help prevent the hi-low pass or out of poor defensive habits), on the giveback, 1 can look for a catch and shoot opportunity if the big does not close back out. b. Attack the big on the closeout. On the giveback, the big will be forced to closeout and take away the jumper. On the closeout, the guard can rip and quickly attack off the bounce. By attacking quickly off the catch, the ball handler is at an advantage as the defense has not had a chance to properly rotate into help. The ball handler will have all sorts of options at his disposal- pull-up, attack the rim, drive and kick, foul pressure on the big, etc.

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