The September 2008 issue of Coach Sean Miller's Xavier newsletter's hit my inbox the other day. It includes some good notes from Alvin Gentry and Jeff Van Gundy.
-- “Toughest thing in the NBA to guard is screen and flare with a good player. Pick and roll is more limited in today’s NBA. Set ballscreens with a shooter.”
-- “In transition, players tend to run back into the lane on defense. It is important for guards to be more man conscious in transition – ‘stay attached to man.’”
-- “Very difficult to trap pick-n-rolls, guards are too good off of the dribble, plus low post player 'punches' in middle of lane under goal which means the rotations are difficult.”
-- “Choose 2 or 3 things defensively and get good at them.”
-- “Don’t let great players catch the ball.”
Coach Van Gundy:
-- “I didn’t like two-a-days. Liked to come back a second time at night, walk through defensive concepts to prepare for next morning’s practice instead.”
-- “I always ask myself are we playing hard? If so, I can evaluate defensive schemes, if not your scheme can’t be evaluated.”
-- “Give great shooters one direction as they prepare to use screens.”
-- “Two keys to defense are transition defense and rebounding. He weighs these two things versus the greatness of the player when debating whether to change defensive scheme through scouting.”
-- "One thing that helped our post spacing is when the opposite post player went under the backboard on a low-post catch. This leaves the middle open for the post up player."
-- “There is no cutting action on a low post catch when the post player catches the ball in the paint.”
-- "Ball screening versus zone defense is very effective."