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Cleveland Cavaliers

What is the Princeton?

By Jason Lloyd Published: October 11, 2010

Received this e-mail today from Reford Nash in Norton:

"Ok. I give. What in the world is a "Princeton Offense"? Even as a Princeton alumnus I'm in the dark."

I've talked about the Princeton in various parts of stories, and will do more on it in the coming weeks. But here is a quick tutorial.

The offense was developed by Pete Carril while he was at Princeton (hence, the name). It is predicated on ball movement, spacing and hard cuts to the basket. The goal is to find a mismatch or a cutter with an open lane to the basket. Post players who can set good screens can be the biggest beneficiaries, since they often get the return pass and an easy basket.

Cavs coach Byron Scott says it's simple basketball, but the key is to have intelligent players who can knock down outside shots. If it requires intelligent players, it's no wonder that it came from Princeton, where Carril won 13 Ivy League championships in 29 years.

"The Princeton offense is basketball," Scott said. "If you're overplayed, you go back door. If the guy is playing below you, you come get the ball. It's pretty simple, but a lot of the actions are different, so a lot of people think it's very complex. It's not that complex, it's just a lot of reads. If you have any basketball knowledge, it's a pretty good offense to have."

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