Position-less Perplex
by BabaGhanouj (2022-05-25 06:46:12)

Coach Ivey has mentioned several times the term “position-less” basketball. Is it a promise, a pipe dream, or, possibly, polymorphic poetry?

Presently, it’s a popular phrase in basketball (especially in the NBA, apparently where Niele picked it up and promoted it), but the truth is that “position-less” basketball goes way back to possibly Don Nelson and “Nellie Ball” in the ’80’s, as part of “point forward” (instead of “point guard”), moving the “center” away from the center, “small ball” or “run-and-gun”. Anyway, it seems that “position-less” may have multiple meanings, but it is characterized by one or more of the following:
1. Spacing
2. The offense needn’t be initiated by a point guard. (Note: This is probably the principal point in position-less basketball, but, I’m not sure that Niele, being a former PG, promotes this principle.)
3. All players are powerful dribblers and ball handlers, as well as proficient in moving without the ball.
4. Emphasis on team movement and passing, read and react, rather than set (“iso”) plays.
5. A “back to the basket” center is often not needed nor included.
6. Perhaps most importantly, any player should be able to guard any opposing player.

Practically everyone agrees that position-less basketball requires players who have high basketball IQ’s, are able to read defenses as well as their teammates, and who must sacrifice their own tendencies for the system to work.

On the other hand, who are we kidding? Positions are still there. The 5 positions are still labeled 1 through 5. There still are “position” coaches, which makes no sense. What do they do? Every roster of every team, including Notre Dame, labels each player by position. Every player knows their position and role.

So, is position-less basketball palpable, or is it pretty much positional basketball, where the team likes to push the fast break?

One last thing, could you please begin your (responding) post with a word that begins with “P”?