Brooklyn Nets Defensive Drills by Lionel Hollins

Scritto da: Chris Hungerford



Tempo di lettura 5 min

Defensive drills are a crucial part of any basketball development program. Today, coach Lionel Hollins of the Brooklyn Nets, is going to show us some basic and advanced stuff that the players in his NBA organization do as a part of keeping their defensive condition on high levels at all times.

5 seconds drill

defensive drills

The first of many defensive drills that we are going to go through today is a 5 seconds drill. This defensive drill is done in pairs and two players need just one ball. The player with the ball is offense, and he starts the drill by taking two hard dribbles and then he stops. The defense needs to follow him in a defensive stance posture and as he picks up the ball, he needs to get aggressive.

  • The offensive player needs to hide the ball and fake it as he wants to make a pass.

  • The orange circle on the picture represents the ball, and yellow lines represent the defensive hand movement.

  • The defensive pressure on the ball needs to last for 5 seconds then comes the switch. The defense becomes the offense and the drill is repeated.

This simple drill is great for building good habits, good muscle memory, and also it is a good warm-up drill. 5 seconds drill is one of the best start-up defensive drills that you can give to your players.

Elbow close-outs drill

The sequence of defensive drills continues with the Elbow close-out drill. For this drill, you need to have two players/coaches on the elbows and your team needs to be divided into two lanes, just like in the picture.

The drill starts with the player rolling the ball toward the coach on the diagonal elbow. The first segment of the drill is a simple closeout. The right way to do a closeout is to sprint halfway toward the player with the ball, and the other half needs to be taken in chopped steps while getting into a defensive stance posture. Hands need to be high at all times.

As the closeout part is done, now come three divided segments of the drill. First, the coach is going to fake a drive to the left. The defensive player needs to take a step to the right with his right foot closing the penetration lane. His Right arm needs to be low on the lane too as if he is going for a steal.

Then, the coach goes into a shooting stance, so now the defense needs to bring his arm high as if he is trying to block it.

The last move by the coach is as he is trying to penetrate the middle. Now, the defender needs to step on the penetration line with his left leg and to bring low his left arm.

As we are trying to just contain the ball and build some good reflexes, the defender needs to be on an arms-length close to the ball. Not closer. The second thing that you need to point out to your players is, when the ball is low and ready for the dribble drive, they need to be low in stance. When the ball is high and ready for a shot, the defender needs to get a bit higher just to be able to defend a shot.

Elbow-side line close-outs

defensive drills

As we continue with our defensive drills, in the next phase we go with the same starting positions, but now instead of defending three segments done by the coach, we have an actual defense toward the baseline and at the end, we need our players to step on the line, because that is something they will normally do when defending the player with the ball.


Resistant Bands

Close-out on the 45°


When doing defensive drills for the 45° spot, some rules need to be followed:

  1. Body almost parallel with the sideline

  2. Outer foot and hand are active

  3. The outer foot must not be higher than the level of the ball

This drill also starts with rolling the ball to the coach. Then, we have a close-out, then the player must play defense toward the baseline. In the end, the player must step on the line.


As you can see, again we are learning some good habits so when the game comes, these things are going to be automatic.

Mike Krzyzewski Defensive Drill


Defensive drills that are done by Mike Krzyzewski are awesome. One of his favorite drills is presented in the picture. We have 3 offensive players and two defensive. The player on the Point position is with the ball and what he does, he dribbles the ball toward the other two players that are on the 45° position.

The two defenders are guarding these two offensive players that are on the 45° spots. The player with the ball is dribbling the ball toward one of them, and the defensive player on the active side needs to step on the passing line with his foot and to put his hand to prevent the pass.

The defensive player on the weak side needs to get inside the paint and to be below the level of the pass. He is now a help defender.


Now, if we talk about how to be positioned in order to deny the pass the correct way, take a look at coach Lionel's leg. Now, go to a previous picture and take a look at the position and the body of the defender at the same spot. His legs are positioned in a way that he allows a back cut.

3 Man defensive rotation

  1. Pass - The player on the point needs to pass the ball to a side with just one player on it. The low post player is on the different side.

  2. Dribble penetration Drive - Player on the 45° spot need to take a drive toward the basket

  3. Defensive rotations - Player guarding the low post needs to step on the penetration lane and the player guarding the weak side wing needs to go and place himself in front of the low post player.

4 man close-outs

  1. Everybody is in a defensive active stance doing chopped steps for 5 seconds

  2. On a whistle, players take the BLACK PATH and they need to clap hands with each other

  3. After a clap, players take the RED PATH and they do a Close Out

  4. Offensive players then fake Dribble drive to the Left, a Shot and a Dribble to the Right

  5. The next level is that the offense takes one and then two dribbles

Never Ending 1 on 1

One line is on the 3 pt line, and the other line is under the basket. Two players are playing one on one. At the finish, they both go outside the court but on opposing sides. The next in the line to play defense rolls the ball to the offense, as soon as he touches the free throw line, the offense can attack. The players are keeping their score. The basket counts as 1, and the defense counts as 1. Whoever gets to 10 wins.


The real masters of the basketball defense know how to make their defensive drills be effective and interesting at the same time. As you can see, here are some drills done by the NBA team, and they do not seem so complicated, so everybody can use them.

If you want to learn more about defensive drills, go rent a DVD by clicking on the link below:


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