The reactive defensive may tire of being disadvantaged and attempt to take the initiative. For the defense to be proactive, it must guess what the offense is about to do and then try to steal the ball. If the offense is running a recognizable, repeating pattern, the defense will soon learn where the opportunities are. But the defense NEVER has the advantage because it doesn’t have the ball. It can only prey on offensive mistakes or inattention. An intelligent offense, seeing that the defense is becoming overly aggressive, looks for the defense to make a gamble. If the gambling defender misses his opportunity, the defensive team is seriously compromised because one member is out of position and one offensive player is unguarded. Other defenders will shift to recover, but each shift only leaves another offensive player open. If the defense is widely spread, this play creates a lay-up. Player A has been passing to a certain spot/player consistently, and notices Player B’s defense is overplaying. Player B has been receiving the pass from Player A, and notices the his defensive player overplaying Player A fakes the pass. Player B’s defender lunges to intercept. Player B suddenly reverses direction and heads to the basket. The defender is caught off-guard and is no longer in position to be able to defend Player B. Player A passes to Player B for an easy shot or subsequent pass if defense shifts quickly enough to prevent a shot. Why doesn’t it work? The defense is not gambling. If the defender maintains position between his man and the basket, he cannot be “backdoored”. Passer is too deliberate. A little acting goes a long way to sucker the defender into making a critical mistake. The cutter moves too slowly. This is a demanding play requiring much movement. If the cutter doesn’t change direction quickly, the element of surprise is lost. The cutter changes direction too soon and the defender isn’t fooled. The passer is fooled by his cutter and makes a pass that is easily stolen. The passer must anticipate the possibility of a backdoor cut and not release the ball unless the receiver is certain.