The Triple Threat Penetration Offense is designed to take advantage of one-on-one scoring moves. By 1-on-1, I am referring to moves that are made from the triple threat position — not simply everyone looking out for themselves.
In this offense, nearly every time a player receives the ball away from the basket, he should catch and face in a triple threat position. From this ready position he can see if a teammate is open closer to the basket, if he is open for a shot, or if he has an opportunity to drive toward the basket to create even greater scoring opportunities by way of a layup, pull-up jumper, drive and dish, etc…
The Triple Threat Penetration Offense utilizes three players on the perimeter; a point guard (1) and two shooting- or wing-type players (2 & 3). These perimeter players are essentially interchangeable through the flow of the offense.
The two post players (4 & 5) should be able to play both the high post and low post area. However, if you do have a dominant low post player (or one that shouldn’t step too far from the basket), he can play more frequently at the low position. The same goes for having a post/forward with good 12-15 foot shooting range; he can play more at the high post position.
Initiating the Offense :: Wing Entry
Low Post is Ball Side
The offense is initiated with a pass to the wing (in this case, O1 passes to O2). The wing player may need to execute a v-cut to get open, such as O2 did in the diagram. After passing to O2, O1 cuts through the ball side high post to the basket and out to the weak side. O4 flashes to the ball side elbow as O5 posts up in the low block area. O3, on the weak side wing, will cut to the top to get open for a possible reversal pass from O2.
A potential scoring opportunity here is that O2 can look for O1 on the cut. If O1’s defender trails behind, he may be open on the initial cut past the high post. If O1’s defender plays on the ball side, O1 should be open for a lob as there is no weakside help.
Low Post is Weak Side
Now, let’s assume O1 makes the same pass to O2, however, O5 is now on the opposite block (with the pass going to O2, he is now ‘weak side’).
In this setup, as O1 cuts through after passing, he will set a screen for O5. O5 will use the screen and cut to the ball side low post, looking for a pass from O2. O4 and O3 perform the same cuts as in the previous diagram.
There is also the potential for O2 to throw a lob to O1. The lob may be there if O1’s defender helps on the cross screen too much or too long — and also because there is no weakside help.
Low Post Entry
This diagram shows O2 with the ball after O1’s cut through to opposite. If O2 passes to O5 on the low block, he will slide to receive a kick-out pass in case his defender doubles-down to help on the low post. O4 will cut straight to the other side of the rim looking for a post-to-post pass from O5. O3 and O1 should also be active for a possible skip pass from O5.
High Post Entry
In this diagram, we’ll take a look at the movement that occurs if O2 passes to O4 in the high post. O5 will look to seal (or spin and seal) his defender for a high-low pass from O4. O4 will also look for his own jump shot or a possible drive to the basket. If nothing is available, he will look to pass to a perimeter teammate. After passing, O2 slid down to the corner and may be open for a shot. O3 or O1 may be active and open as well. It may also be necessary for O3 and O1 to screen for each other to get open.
O2 may also see an opening for himself and choose to penetrate to the lane area. As he begins his drive, O4 will cut backdoor to the basket and O5 will look to possibly seal off his defender. Either O4 or O5 may be open for a pass or lob pass. O2 should also be sure to drive strong and jump stop for a possible shot/move or kick out to a perimeter teammate.
If O2 drives to the baseline, again, O4 will cut backdoor to the basket and O5 will attempt to seal his defender. O4 may be open for the lob. O5 may be open for a dump pass, especially if his man helps on the drive. O2 may also use the pull-up jump shot or kick out to a teammate.
If the wing player, O2, has no opening to penetrate or pass inside, he will pass the basketball to O3, who is cutting to the top of the key. The reversal and continuation is shown in the next diagram.
O3 will then swing the basketball to the opposite wing to O1 and the continues as originally shown in diagrams 2 and 3 above.
Initiating the Offense :: High Post Entry
This offense can also begin with a pass to the high post from the point guard. For this diagram, the high post player, O4, is on the right elbow; however, it does not matter which side he is on. The player that does need to pay attention to O4’s position although, is O5. O5 should attempt to set up on the opposite low block, as shown…this will ensure that the low post below O4 is open.
To begin the offense with a high post entry, O1 passes to O4 at the high post and the ball side low post is open (it is unoccupied). As O4 receives the pass, O3 will cut to the basket for a possible backdoor layup. O2 will cut either to the long corner or short corner for a possible skip pass from O4 for a jump shot. If neither player is open, O4 might also have the opportunity to drive to the basket.
Also, O1 slides down to the wing vacated by O3 to be available for a possible jump shot (especially if his defender helps or doubles the high post player), or as a safety outlet (if O4 has no option to pass, shoot, or drive).
High Post Entry (continued)
If nothing is available for O4 intially (O3 backdoor, O2 in the corner, O4 drive — and before utilizing O1 as the safety pass), then the following can take place:
O3 will cut around behind O5 for a possible pass in the short corner/corner. O2 will then time his cut so that he cuts over the top of O5 just as O3 cuts baseline. This double cut action can create problems for the defense. O5 steps to the ball just as O2 cuts passed him. O4 now has three more passing options or still may drive for a short pull up or step-through move.
High Post Entry Reversal
If nothing became available for O4, he will look to pass to O1 or possibly to O3 in the opposite corner/wing area.
After passing, O4 will screen down for O2 as O2 pops out to the top.
The wing, in this diagram O1, will pass out to the top to O2. O2 can then swing it over to O3 or pass to either O4 or O5 flashing to the high post (one of the post players should flash to the high post).
Once the ball is back at the top, O2 can utilize the wing entry or the high post entry to continue the offense.