Always look to simplify. “Occam's Razor; one should not increase, beyond what is [absolutely] necessary, the number of entities [or movements] required to explain [or do] anything.”
Pass the basketball more and dribble the basketball less.
Imagine a game situation where the offense is running a half-court play. The end result of this play is for the center to receive a pass from the point guard, turn to the outside while taking one step back toward the basket, and shoot an uncontested lay-up. A simple enough plan. The first thing that needs to happen is for the center to get his defender positioned on his inside shoulder, or the shoulder closest to the free-throw line. If by chance the defender is already there, the point guard simply tosses a bounce pass to the center’s outside hand. As the center is receiving the pass he starts his turn to the baseline and steps back towards the basket, his outside hand is completely undefended for an uncontested lay-up. If the defender is not where the offense needs him to be, the point guard tosses a regular pass to the center’s inside hand, the center feigns to the inside, the defender moves to defend the inside and ends up on the center’s inside shoulder. The center pops the ball back out and the point guard immediately slips him a bounce pass back to his open outside hand. The point I’m making here is the point guard is using the bounce pass as the “clue” for the center to know that no one is defending the hand the shooting guard is passing to. If a defender was in position to guard the outside hand, the point guard would not give the center a bounce pass, he would deliver a chest pass. Automatically the center knows if he gets a bounce pass to either hand, that side is open for him to turn and shoot. A play like this makes a 'simple' bounce pass a very powerful communication tool between two offensive players, and the defense is completely unable to read the eyes or body language of the offense. This basketball training aid is only one example of using the pass for something other than getting a basketball from one point on the court to another. Brainstorm with your team to open up other possibilities. Get creative. Think outside the rim!
The bounce pass in basketball is so easy to see and catch, is usually beyond the reach of defenders, and it can come right off the dribble momentarily catching the defense off guard. As a pass receiver, almost always, you want to step out and go to the pass, go get the pass, make yourself open as opposed to letting the pass come to you. Letting the pass come to you allows the defense as much time to get to the basketball as you have to get to the basketball. If the offense fails to keep at least one step ahead of the defense, then the defense will become the offense.
Passing the basketball rather than dribbling the basketball is a faster way to develop basketball plays and move the basketball around the court. So what? Defenders cannot keep up with three or four or five quick consecutive passes. That extra pass is so important. In Southern California, the Marines at Camp Pendleton Marine Base play basketball on the beach, in the sand. They're unable to dribble the basketball in the sand so passing the basketball is their only option. Now when these Marines play a basketball game on a regular basketball court, it's extremely difficult to keep up with their basketball passing skills.
Work on your basketball passing game with specific basketball passing drills. When you run a basketball passing drill, like a pick and roll over and over again with different players on your team, you'll find the basketball passing skills these basketball passing drills develop take your game to another level. Assists are not only the the realm of the point guard. A great basketball pass leading to a score is frequently more exciting than a basketball shot and can often kick a team's momentum into gear, sometimes turning a game around. A beautiful bounce pass in basketball is a lethal weapon that is largely undefendable, practice it in your basketball passing drills and use it as often as possible. Do you want to know how to get better at basketball? Do you want to know how to play better basketball? Learn to play all positions in basketball. Once you know how to play a position you normally do not play, you will understand more fully what a player in that position expects from you. This is how to get better at basketball. You want to learn how to play basketball better? Learn how to pass. Understand, a dribble is a pass to yourself, a shot is a pass to the basket. Great basketball passers are also great dribblers and great shooters. You want to learn how to get better at basketball? Pass the basketball. Pass. Pass. Pass the basketball.
From which specific spot on the court do players on your team prefer to shoot the basketball? Where are their favorite shots? On a catch and shoot where do the players on your team like to receive a pass? With which hand do your teammates prefer to catch a pass? Do your teammates like to catch and shoot while moving or prefer to receive a pass while stationary? Do they want that pass to hit them high or low? Soft or hard? On their left or right side? How about you? Do your teammates know your preferences on shot selection and how you prefer to receive a pass; do you know your own preferences for receiving a pass? Your basketball passing drills and your teams basketball passing drills should take all these preferences into account. Basketball passing drills may be the most under practiced skill on the court while being one of the most important basketball skills needing development.
Learn to take responsibility for your actions and your education. Others can guide you, but only you can be you. Basketball players are made, they are not born; great basketball players are self made, not only by working on their basketball skills level but by studying the game, learning the game, and remembering “Occam's Razor.”
The Following Books Are Recommended Reading For All Coaches and Players (you can find them in your library):
Beginner Players / Coaches:
Baffled Parents Guide to Great Basketball Drills by Jim Garland
Basketball Skills and Drills by Krouse, Meyer, Meyer
Teach'In Basketball by Bob Swope
Coaching Youth Basketball by American Sports Education
Drills and Skills For Youth Basketball by Grainer, Rains
All Players / Coaches:
Basketball Handbbook by, Lee H. Rose
Coaching HighSchool Basketball by Bill Kuchar
Basketball Tip-Ins by Nick Sortal
WBCA's Defensive Basketball Drills by Women's Basketball Coaching Association
WBCA's Offensive Basketball Drills by Women's Basketball Coaching Association
Attacking Zone Defenses by Kresse, Jablonski
101 Offensive Basketball Drills by Karl, Stotts, Johnson
101 Defensive Basketball Drills by Karl, Stotts, Johnson
101 Rebounding Basketball Drills by Karl, Stotts, Johnson
Coaching Fast Break Basketball by Ellis
Zone Offenses For Mens and Womens Basketball by Harkins, Krause
All Purpose Offenses For Mens and Womens Basketball by Harkins, Krause