This page is split into two sections: Xs and Os and general coaching topics. The Xs and Os section is just a taste of the kinds of topics I spent most of my time writing about (there’s plenty more in the rest of the archives!), while general coaching topics have more to do with the philosophy of coaching.

Note that articles with a next to them were only available to subscribers when they were published. Want to read them? You can get lifetime access to the entire archive of these close to 200 articles for just $50. Simply click the button below.

Xs and Os

  1. How to Watch Basketball
    Want to watch basketball like a coach or scout? Here's how I learned.
  2. Friday Film: Hammer, Marc, Weak
    San Antonio's (not so) surprising Hammer action, the craftiness of Marc Gasol, and "weaking" the middle pick-and-roll.
  3. Friday Film: Box Outs, Refs, and Speed vs. Switches
    Watch Robin Lopez show that rebounding isn't all about rebounds, the importance of referee positioning, and John Wall attack the switch.
  4. Friday Film: Mind the Gap, Flex Back, Pinch Post Pass
    Watch Fred VanVleet disrupt the Nets with positioning, Olympiacos' clever wrinkle on a set the Celtics run, and another example of how the Spurs machine never stops.
  5. Friday Film: Xs and Os Elegance
    At first glance, Houston's 21 Nash set just looks like a simple middle pick-and-roll. But there are reasons why it's so effective — reasons that can teach us a lot about the modern NBA.
  6. Watch With Me: Stack Attack
    The end of the Mavs/Spurs game turned into a chess match over one of the NBA’s trendiest plays. Watch it with me.
  7. Watch With Me: The Non-Shooter Sag
    When non-shooters are on the perimeter, smart defenses ignore them. The recent Warriors-Blazers game shows how elite offenses counter this defense — when they execute.
  8. Do the Bucks Stop Here?
    How the Bucks' defense reveals an underlying strategic tension in the game itself.
  9. Bucking the Trend
    How, in an NBA obsessed with long range looks, does the best defense give up the most threes? The answer lies in a subtle but very important change over the last few years of NBA basketball.
  10. Bucking the Trend: Follow Up
    Mike Budenholzer was asked about my article on the Bucks' three-point defense. My thoughts on his response, and what it can teach us about coaching.
  11. Who Counts as a "Non-Shooter"?
    The Bucks and Raptors series has thrust one question into the spotlight: who counts as a shooter that can be helped off of?
  12. Getting the Bucks to Blink
    What happened over the last few games of the Bucks-Raptors series that precipitated Milwaukee's collapse? Plus: the results help give us an answer to last week's question of just who is a non-shooter.
  13. Shootaround: Bucks at Sixers
    Introducing a new feature: Shootaround. Today's Shootaround brings you inside the film sessions of the Sixers and Bucks to prepare you for tonight's matchup.
  14. Size Matters
    Houston has led the charge towards a new style of basketball, playing small and avoiding midrange shots - and the league has mostly followed suit. But one team is going the opposite direction. Who, how, and why?
  15. The Celtic Surprise
    Boston has won 16 games in a row and has the best record in the NBA. How have they done it? And can they possibly keep it up?
  16. The Post Up is Dead, Long Live the Post Up
    The conventional wisdom is that the post up is dying in the modern NBA. And that's true, to a point. On the rebirth of post play — with a twist.
  17. Cracking the Shell
    The Celtics were able to contain the Sixers' transition attack in Game 1, in large part by emphasizing the full court shell spot. What can Philly do to counter?
  18. Running on Empty
    One variety of pick-and-roll seems to be used with increasing frequency—and it helps illuminate the subtle tactical battles of NBA coaches.
  19. Counters and Confusion
    Xs and Os battles are what make the playoffs special. A survey of some of the tactical skirmishes that have taken place so far.

Other Topics

  1. The Perfect Truth
    On its surface, The Perfect Pass is a book about football strategy. But dig deeper, and it provides valuable lessons about basketball, coaching, and defeating conventional wisdom.
  2. The Perfect Pass: Additional Notes
    What can coaches learn from The Perfect Pass that goes beyond football?
  3. In the Arena
    No coaches were fired this season. That shouldn’t be so notable, and yet it is. Why?
  4. The Value of a Coach
    How much do coaches matter? My thoughts on a question taking center stage as playoff chess matches unfold and coaching interviews progress.
  5. The Trouble with Foul Trouble
    When Victor Oladipo picked up two fouls in the first minute of Game 2, it raised a common question: what is the right way for coaches to manage foul trouble?
  6. Everything You Wanted to Know about Training Camp
    ...but never had anyone to ask. The latest in my subscriber Q&A series.