Defending Cutters


How to defend cutters is another phase of the game that is often times over looked by coaches. However, basket cuts, back cuts and flash cuts have been around since the birth of basketball and are an integral part of every offense today. Players must not only possess a working knowledge how to defend these basic cuts, but also need to develop an attitude and aptitude of anticipating and preventing them.

| "Give &Go" | Back Cuts | Dribble Clear | Weakside Clear Outs | Weakside Flashes |

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5 Stars

Disrupting Basket Cuts ("Give & Go")

The "Give and Go" basket cut is one of the oldest, yet most admired plays in basketball. When executed successfully, it draws raves from the spectators and coaches alike. However, this simple basket cut should never be allowed. It is a result of careless or lazy defense.


Beat Cutters


Disrupting Give & Go Cut

When a ball handler passes the ball and makes a cut to the basket, the defender must jump in the direction of the pass and assume a shoulder to shoulder pass denial position.

Incorrect Give & Go Cut

Never allow a cutter a direct cut to the basket. Always jump to the ball and assume a strong pass denial position.


Cutter Postup



5 Stars

Defending Against Back Cuts

The back cut or "Back Door" cut is the tactic of choice used to counter strong first pass denials. Therefore, defenders should be aware of this tactic and alert to defend it. Defending back cuts requires a team effort. In addition to disrupting the actual back cut, it is also imperative for the "On Ball" defender to pressure the passer and for the helpside defenders to be alert and give support by intercepting or deflecting the pass or by taking a charge.

Shoulder to Shoulder Drop

Shoulder to Shoulder Drop

Ear on Chest

When the opponent back cuts to the basket, the defender maintains an "Ear on Chest" pass denial position using a shoulder to shoulder drop finishing up in a post front. The defender should resist or block opponent's cut to the basket maintaining vision on the ball and force the cutter toward a baseline PushPoint.

Switching "Stop Signs"

Switching Stop Signs

Quick Head Snap

When the defender is beaten on a back cut to the basket, immediately switch "Stop Signs" by extending opposite hand into the passing lane and using a quick head snap. Sprint to catch up and attempt to deflect the pass.


Head Snap


Push to Baseline Pushpoint

Push to PushPoint

If the opponent continues out to the opposite side of the court, the defender maintains a strong "Ear on Chest" pass denial position and pushes them using an elbow high arm position to a pushpoint the same as if they were a dribbler.

Incorrect Trailing

By pushing the cutter to a baseline pushpoint, it will disrupt the offensive flow and negate any weakside down or base screens.



5 Stars

Defending Against the Dribble Clear

The dribble clear is a variation to the back cut. When the ball handler dribbles toward an offensive player, they clear out by making a back cut to the basket. If the back cut is not defended it will result in an easy layup.


Deny and Helside


Defending Dribble Clear

If a ball handler dribbles toward the receiver and the receiver back cuts to the basket, the defender should maintain a pass denial position and make a shoulder to shoulder drop forcing the cutter toward a baseline PushPoint.

Incorrect Dribble Clear

When the receiver goes out to the weakside wing, the defender assumes a sagged off, "Helpside I" defensive position.


Weakside Help Position



5 Stars

Defending Against Weakside Cuts


Weakside Cuts


Weakside Cut

If a ball handler passes and then goes opposite the pass, the defender first moves in the direction of the pass assuming a pass denial position. As the cutter moves to the weakside, the defender then establishes a sagged off, "Helpside I" position.


The defender should NEVER follow the cutter out to the weakside wing.


Pass and go away



5 Stars

Defending Weakside Flash Cuts


Weakside Flash


Push to PushPoint

Weakside defenders should play up the passing lane in the same Ball - You - Opponent principle as ballside first pass denials using split vision, seeing the opponent and the player with the ball.

Incorrect Trailing

Dictate direction on cuts. Do not give the cutter any options. Helpside defender should assume a position that forces their opponent to cut in front in order to receive a pass.


Pphysically Block Cutter


Push to PushPoint

NEVER allow a weakside cutter to penetrate into the three second area of the court. If at all possible, keep them on the weakside. When a weakside player cuts toward the ball handler, the defender should step up and physically block the cutter.

Incorrect Trailing

Once the opponent ball cut in blocked, the defender then assumes a strong pass denial position forcing the cutter to the top of the circle pushpoint.


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