From Traditional Offense To The Princeton: How CSKA Scores The Ball

CSKA's offense has reached a new level in recent games. Not expected to put up big numbers in Kazan, the Army Men became the first team to score 100 points on UNICS in league competition. The outcome was all the more surprising, given that Kazan ranks in the top-3 for defense.

Konstantin Kucher analyzes CSKA's strategy on offense for Breaking It Down.

CSKA takes a very creative approach on offense. The Muscovites employ several classic elements, such as the pick-and-roll, iso plays and fast breaks. But they are also very successful with more complicated set plays. You can see the influence of the Princeton offense, which relies on screens, ball movement and constant player movement, when CSKA takes the court.

The game against UNICS serves as a solid illustration of CSKA's offensive reportoire. The Muscovites demonstrated several classic techniques.

They often relied on the pick-and-roll.

And scored after kicking out to the perimeter.

They also showed off their ability to go 1-on-1.

But that's not all that makes CSKA's offense so dangerous. The Army Men's biggest weapon is their incredible chemistry and communication on the court. The Muscovites move a lot on offense. They use screens, pass the ball and almost always get the ball to an open teammate.

Here's an excellent illustration:

Milos Teodosic or Vitaly Fridzon are usually the intended recipients. They make a cut from the paint out to the perimeter.

At the same time, teammates set multiple screens to stop the opposition from following Teodosic or Fridzon.

The Army Men's snipers simply need to receive the pass

and put the ball in the basket.

Sometimes CSKA only needs one screen. On this next play, Kurbanov set a timely pick on Freeland's defender under the basket.

That allowed the Brit to get the ball in the paint and score an uncontested basket.

Short, crisp passes are a defining element of the CSKA offense. Together with screens, they create opportunities for open shots. Watch how Cory Higgins is able to get open on the following play thanks to sharp passing on the perimeter, De Colo's activity and a screen from Hines.


That type of ball movement and intuitive decision-making has become routine for the Army Men.

Given the talent on the court, CSKA's symbiosis of classic offense and the Princeton approach delivers amazing results. Stopping CSKA is a huge challenge; simply holding the team to less than 90 points has to be seen as a success. CSKA puts on a show every time it takes the court, delivering wins and wowing crowds around the league and Europe.

Konstantin Kucher