Can Jerry Sloan and the Flex Offense coexist with MJ and the Charlotte Bobcats?


Back during the late 80s when I played basketball at Reid Ross Junior High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Coach McMillan ran the Flex offense. Although I had been playing basketball for years, this marked a time when my basketball IQ increased by learning how to play basketball without the actual ball in my hands. This was the first time that I actually learned and ran basketball plays. I had the privilege of playing with current Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel, and current Western Carolina assistant coach Anguell McCollum during these years. I was a student of the game, in the truest sense. During this past week, Michael Jordan met with the former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. Jerry Sloan ran a variation of the Flex offense for years. He had a great deal of success with it. Sloan’s Jazz faced the Chicago Bulls in consecutive NBA championships in 1997 and 1998. As we all know, the Bulls were victorious in both meetings. There could be a possible union between the coach of those Jazz teams, and the star player of Bulls’ teams.

The Flex offense is an offensive strategy in basketball developed in the 1970s. It is a patterned offense relying on cuts across the key (called a “flex cut”) and down screens to create a “pick-the-picker” action. This offense is most effective against a man-to-man defense, though some ambitious coaches have used it against odd front zones. It is the favored offense of many high school programs because it requires players to be in constant motion and the patterns of screens and cuts are easy to remember. If the Michael Jordan hires Jerry Sloan to coach the Bobcats, then the Flex offense will most likely be implemented.

The flex is a type of continuity offense, similar to (and in fact derived from) the earlier shuffle offense. The basic premise behind the Flex offense is that all players are interchangeable. None of the players have a traditional role. The point guard advances the ball up the court to start the offense, while other players set screens to create openings. Typically, the point guard sets the offense on the same side as a low-post player positioned at the right block. The point guard passes opposite to a high-post at the top of the key while a wing player cuts off a screen by the low post player towards the ball to receive a pass from the high post player. The point guard screens down to the low post player who moves to the top of the key to receive a pass from the high post player. The same cut occurs on the other side of the ball and the offense begins its continuous cycle. Variations of the flex include the 5 man flex, utilizing all 5 players in the cutting and screening action and the 4 man flex, which utilizes 4 players. Since this offense is classified as a continuity offense, in which players repeat specific actions, some teams will build in options within the offense to keep defenses from anticipating a particular cut or screen.

The Bobcats can succeed with Jerry Sloan and the Flex offense. Kemba Walker will be running the offense. Signing a reliable low-post player should definitely be an option. I would like to see MJ make a trade for Utah’s Paul Millsap. Millsap excelled under Sloan during his first few years with the Jazz. He performed Carlos Boozer, who actually started during that time. Here is the list of restricted free agents that will be available this summer: Roy Hibbert, Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez, Ryan Anderson, Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lin, George Hill, Aaron Brooks, Robin Lopez, Omer Asik, D.J. Augustin, JaVale McGee, Brandon Rush, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Marreese Speights, Darrell Arthur, and Landry Field. The Bobcats’ roster is going to be new and improved in my opinion. There was always a plan for the Bobcats. The sooner people come to terms with this, the sooner they will realize that change is on the horizon.