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Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills
 

Defending
Messina ballscreens


sketch
1
Ettore Messina
(Jon Giesbrecht)

Drills to work on ballscreen defence. Although pick and roll defence depends on quickness and mobility of your players, and ability of your opponents, there is a need for basic rules. They force 2 on 2 play defensively as much as possible.
 
Good teams know when to be very aggressive (deny) and when to contain/protect (shrink) during a defensive possession, don't let the offence get comfortable.
 
See Defences - Dave Severns ballscreens.
 
a) 2 on 2

Cones restrict space. The screener sprints out, his defender communicates the coverage on the first step.
 
Defending the 5-man, show or play flat (zone, shown); defending the 4-man, show or switch, can't play flat against a 4 popping, will never recover in time.
 
On a middle ballscreen, X1 gives the ballhandler only one option, shades to his weak hand, then "rear-view" contests (chase over the screen). If 5 re-screens, X1 rolls under, off the screener, and again shades weakhand.
 
A flat ballscreen is the most dangerous, very important to give only one option.
 
Game progression - force the ball where there are two defenders (first and second line of help) to limit how much the big helps.

sketch
2
b) 3 on 3

All players are randomly divided into three lines (guards and bigs play every position). The player at the top passes and cuts through, the opposite wing sprints into a side pick and roll. Players must recognize how to defend and attack different situations, e.g. mismatches.
 
(Variation - 1 cuts to the ballside corner and fills behind the ballscreen. Either way, 2 should read 1's defender)
 
See Attack/defend - 3 on 3 sidescreens.

sketch
3
If 2 catches the ball in scoring range they jump switch (switch vertically, with X5`s feet pointing to the sideline, X6 goes under the screen).

If 2 takes a back (retreat) dribble to create space, they switch back.

If a big reverses the ball from the top and follows to ballscreen, they want to switch 1 through 5.

sketch
4
If X6 does his work early and forces a catch one or two metres outside the 3-point line, he goes under the screen (and over X5).

If a guard gets a pass from another player followed by a ballscreen, they want to force a perimeter catch out and away by denying, allowing the on-ball defender to go under the first ballscreen.

They want to deny as much as possible, go under on the first pick and roll, force a re-screen, then the offensive angles change.

If a ballscreen comes up from the baseline (a step-up screen), force the ballhandler down (down, ice).
If 5 sets the screen, X5 protects the paint; if 4 (a shooter) sets the screen, X4 switches with X1 (who goes over the screen). If X4 zones up, there is no way he recover on a pick and pop.

See Defences - Kevin O'Neill ballscreens.
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