The Safety Valve is the final available option on dribble penetration – if the rim is covered, if the Natural Pitch is covered, if the Baseline Cut is covered, if Post Slides are covered, you’re left with only one option (that’s why it’s called the Safety Valve).

And, there’s a lot of security in that for the ball handler. He knows that no matter what, if he drives and gets stopped, he can always reverse pivot and look for the Safety Valve.

But, sometimes it’s not open.

Sometimes the drive didn’t require any help, or the Safety Valve’s defender played it exactly right, or the reverse pivot took too long, or a variety of other things.

At that moment, with no options open, what happens?

Let’s look at it like this: when the penetrator is stopped in the lane, he is no longer a penetrator, he has made himself a post player. And, given that, what if the player in the Safety Valve position had fed a post player, would he know how to react now?

The answer is… Yes, as long as he knows Layer 2: Post Pass & Cut, he should. That’s right, he has at his disposal the two Laker cuts from Layer 2 and (if you’ve gotten this far) the X-Cut and Relocate Cut from Layer 13.

So, the answer should be clear now.

If the Safety Valve is covered, the Safety Valve should react as if he just fed the post. And, even if he doesn’t get the pass from one of those cuts, he’s opening up his spot for another player to fill that Safety Valve (this time on the move). Hopefully, those extra actions will allow the original penetrator to find an escape from the trouble.

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