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The 12 Rules of the SOS System - Part 2

By Trous, 10/01/20, 6:30PM PDT

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"BOB KLOPPENBURG IS A DEFENSIVE GENIUS." - PAT RILEY, NBA COACH RETIRED

 

Rule #7 - Contact Switch all Screens

Unlike the Bennett-system, the SOS system "contact" switches all screens. These contact switches are not lazy switches (like we see in pickup games). Contact switches are aggressive switches with player contact, with the defenders ending up in the passing lanes, denying a pass to either player. Here are typical examples:Back-screen (diagram 14) - on O4's back-screen, X4 takes O2, while X2 takes O4. Defenders get in the passing lanes with contact on the offensive players.

Down-screen (diagram 15) - on O3's down-screen, X5 takes O3, while X3 bumps and goes with O5, resulting in the positioning (both sides) seen in diagram 16.

SOS defense - contact switching the backscreen SOS defense - contact switching the downscreen SOS defense - positioning after switching

Lateral Post Screens (diagrams 17 and 18) - O4 screens away for O5. Again, we contact switch with X4 bumping and denying O5, and X5 stepping over and around the screener O4.

SOS defense - contact switching lateral post screens SOS defense - positioning after contact switching lateral post screens SOS defense - screener slips the screen - no switch

What if the screener "slips" the screen? There is no switch here since in effect there is no screen (diagram 26). Communicate!
 

Rule #8 - Sideline Screen and Roll - Below the Free-Throw Line - Automatic Trap

If the offense runs a screen and roll below the free-throw line, automatically double team this. Diagram 19 shows this and the rotation away from the ball.

SOS defense - trap ball-screens below the free throw line SOS defense - contact switch ball-screens above the free-throw line SOS defense - positioning after contact switching ball-screens above the free-throw line
 

Rule #9 - Sideline Screen and Roll - Above the Free-Throw Line - Contact Switch

If the offense runs the screen and roll above the free-throw line, contact switch this. Diagram 20 shows how X5 switches, takes the ball and is in good position to defend either the outside shot or the dribble-drive. X2 steps over the screen with contact denying the passing lane to O5 (diagram 21).

Diagrams 22 and 23 show another example of the high ball-screen coming from the high post. X3 and X5 contact switch the screen. X5 stops the ball, while X3 denies the roll pass.

SOS defense - trap ball-screens below the free throw line SOS defense - contact switch ball-screens above the free-throw line

Diagrams 24 and 25 show the weave-screen (dribble hand-off) ball-screen. Again, contact switch this.

SOS defense - contact switch ball-screens above the free-throw line SOS defense - contact switch ball-screens above the free-throw line
 

Rule #10 - Ball in the Corner - Trap and Rotate

In diagram 10B, the ball is dribbled to the corner. X4 sprints out and traps with X2. X5 rotates to full-front the low post, while X3 and X1 move to the low-I and high I spots, and we have our "triangle-I" inside (diagram 11B).

SOS defense - trap the corner SOS defense - trap the corner
 

Rule #11 - Near Man Concept

In diagram 11B, if the ball is passed out to either O3 or O1, X1 closes-out on the ball, as the player nearest to the ball takes the ball - the near man concept. Whenever there is a question as to who takes the ball, it's the nearest man.
 

Rule #12 - Everything Stays on One Side of the Court

This has already been discussed above. Keep the ball on one side of the court (similar to the Bennett-style defense). When the ball is on the wing, the on-ball defender forces toward the baseline, and denies middle dribble-penetration.

The pass allowed is the cross-court skip-pass. The nearest defender (usually the high-I) closes-out on this with high hands. Defenders rotate as soon as the pass leaves the passer's hands, and we set up the defense on the opposite side, with all the same rules.

A few more pointers...

Base Go Red

"Base Go Red" refers to aggressively trapping the wing. Teams with quickness can get turnovers here, and points off the turnover. If your team is not quick, use the standard "Base Go I" (In and Out) described above.

This is similar to our Bennett-style "Side Fist", except that "Side-Fist" traps just the first pass to the wing, whereas "Base Go Red" traps every pass to the wing, on either side. Diagram 29 shows an immediate trap when the ball is passed to the wing O2. X4 sprints out and traps with X2. X5 denies the low post pass, while X3 drops to the low-I position and X1 gets the high-I position (diagram 30). Notice that we again have the "triangle-I" away from the ball.

SOS defense - Base Go Red - trap the wing SOS defense - trap the corner
 

Trapping the Short Corner

Ordinarily the pass to the short-corner would be denied with the post defender in a 3/4 front (from the top) position (diagram 31). But there will be times when the ball does get into the short corner. Trap this, with the same rotations used for baseline dribble-penetration. X4 sprints out to trap (diagram 32), while X3 drops to the low-I strike position, and X1 moves to the high-I spot. X2 snuggle denies the pass back out to the wing.

SOS defense - trap the short corner SOS defense - trap the short corner
 

Red Same

"Red Same" refers to a quick trap on the point guard just inside the half-court line. We might want to take the ball out of the talented point guard's hands. Or we might want to run this as a surprise tactic a few times during the game, maybe after a time-out. This is similar to our Bennett-style "Red".

Diagram 33 shows X1 forcing O1 to a sideline. The wing defender (here X3) immediately sprints up and traps O1 with X1. X5 rotates to snuggle deny the pass to that wing, while X4 denies the high post pass, and X2 drops to a high-I position.

The pass out of the trap usually goes to O2 (diagram 34). The nearest defender X2 closes-out on the ball, while X1 snuggle denies the pass back to O1. X3, X4 and X5 rotate as seen in the diagram. If the pass goes from O2 to O4 on the opposite wing, this is a good time to trap the wing with "Base Go Red".

SOS defense - Red Same - trap the sideline SOS defense - Red Same - pass out of the trap SOS defense - Red Rover - trap the sideline
 

Red Rover

"Red Rover" is the same as "Red Same" except we pre-designate our trapper (instead of the wing defender coming up to trap). You might have a very quick, athletic player who likes to trap and "get after it"... so he/she becomes the "red rover", and can go trap whenever. It gives you another look. Diagram 35 shows that X4 is our "red rover", and traps O1 with X1 on the sideline. X3 and X5 are in snuggle deny, while X2 drops to a very high-I position. Use the "Base Go Red" trap when the ball goes to the wing.