NBA Defense : Top Locking

Yesterday I wrote a short tweet about how the Oklahoma City Thunder were top locking on the Memphis Grizzlies’ shooters to prevent them from coming off pin-downs in the 2nd Half. I had a few coaches ask what Top Locking was so I thought I would draw up a quick example and explain it. If there is action that the NBA runs exceptionally well (besides Pick & Rolls), it has to be their numerous pin-down plays to free up scorers. One defensive technique to slow this down is the Top Lock on the shooter(s). Top Locking means putting the defender on the outside hip of the shooter and forcing them away from the screen (as you can see below).

Top Locking

Another famous play every NBA team will run throughout the season is “Floppy”. “Floppy” is a single-double action that gives simple counters in the event the defense does top lock. Top Locking sometimes is not as effective on “Floppy” because the shooter now has the option to run off a stagger versus a single pin-down. However, that is not always a bad thing. One staple that Boston Celtics Assistant Coach has taught me is if a offensive player has two directions to go, take away one of them with your body and force them to only have one option. This allows the rest of your defense to immediately know how they should help and rotate; and you somewhat control the offense and force them into your strategy, rather than theirs.


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