Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Fast breaks
Early dribble-drive ballscreens

Early ballscreens are hard to guard, attack before the defence gets set, then flow into dribble-drive motion. Ballscreens create double-gaps and advantage situations, and are counters against denial and pressure. They can be calls, reads, or random.

5 is the default screener (Break 5 series), or have 4 ballscreen (Break 4 series), e.g., if X4 is the worst screen defender, or use a combination. Generally 5 rolls and 4 pops.
5 rims runs after a made basket or defensive rebound. If 5 rebounds, rim run late, trail ballscreen early (see Early fist), or get into 5-out dribble-drive motion. 4 gets wide, leaving open the middle of the floor (including dribble penetration by 1).
John Calipari - drag is a ballscreen by the 4-man, any fist is with the 5-man, the ballhandler calls for it.

1) Break 5 Series
a) Loop (Over)
b) Butler
c) Hawk
d) Pistol
e) Fist inverted
f) Dribble-dive
g) Double-dive
h) Quick-fist (Cross-fist)
i) Pistol-2
j) Ravens
k) Fist
l) Early fist

2) Break 4 Series
a) Swing
b) Quick-drag
c) Pistol-drag
d) Gator
e) Shake
f) Drag

See Offences - Dribble-drive outline, Kentucky ballscreens, Oakland dribble-drive (Ballscreens), Hoiberg pitch series, Dribble-drive ballscreens.
For 5 trailing up the middle, see Fast breaks - Phoenix Suns drag screens, Early 5-out actions, Two-Side (Rocket), Blog Post - Fast-break cycles.

1) Break 5 Series

a) Loop

1 passes to 4, loops to the wing, 5 comes up off 1's back to pick and roll.

Petitgoue dribble-drive (Over) - 1 passes to 4 and follows to ballscreen.

Variation - 1 and 5 stagger screen for 4 (1 pops, 5 rolls).

Swing-fist - a random ballscreen, 1 makes a swing pass to 4 and corner or through cuts, 5 comes out to pick and roll (see Fist).

A kickback entry can be used to disguise early ballscreens and have 1 and 4 switch positions with the same options.

See Offence - Hoiberg pitch series.

Kickback-swing-loop - here 4 could swing the ball back to 1, loop cut, and 5 ballscreen for 1 (a Kentucky play).

Hoiberg (Pitch mix angle) - 1-4 kickback, 4-1 throwback, 5 ballscreens for 1.

Greg Kampe (Pitch-fist) - 1-4 pitch, 5 ballscreens for 4.

See below.up

b) Butler

1 passes to 4 and basket (or corner) cuts, 3 blast cuts for a pass (make eye contact), 4 basket cuts, 1 gets to the ballside corner, 5 circles up to ballscreen.

If 5 is a dominant big, post up then ballscreen.

Butler can be random (swing-quick-fist).

See Petitgoue dribble-drive (Move), Quick hitters - Duke actions (Corner), Butler ballscreens, Zone set plays - Nets forwards out.

5 picks and rolls, 1 fills behind the ballscreen.

Dave Severns - this is a single-side bump (the hardest pick and roll to defend), two attackers are spaced weakside, only X1 can bump the roll man.

See Quick hitters - Chin series.up

c) Hawk

Swing the ball to 3, 1 corner cuts (here using 5), 4 basket cuts, 2 lifts.

3 passes to 1, 5 backscreens for 3 then picks and rolls.

5 could post then ballscreen.

Billy Donovan - 3 can cut then fill behind the ballscreen.

See Fast breaks - Spurs 2014 (Hawk action), Mike Brown early flow (Swing).up

d) Pistol (pistol-fist)

1 passes to 4 and spaces wide to the sideline (not a loop, corner or basket cut). 4 dribbles right at X3 (a dribble screen), 5 circles to come high, 3 comes off for a hand-off, 4 pops to the corner, 5 picks and rolls.

4 can turn the corner to attack the basket, or if X3 denies a dribble hand-off, 3 goes backdoor, 5 screens for 4 if there is no pass, see Ravens below. 5 creates space for these options.

Use dribble-ats as pressure release.

Hoiberg (Pitch mix Orlando) - 1-4 kickback, 4-1 throwback, 4 spaces, 1-3 DHO, 5 ballscreens.

Billy Donovan - always keep the top open for driving angles, space away, get all the way to the sideline.

See Quick hitters - Dribble-drive S-gap, Chin series.up

e) Fist inverted

1 reverse or spin dribbles, 5 relocates, 4 dives to the rim, 1 changes direction, 5 comes high, picks and rolls, 4 exits opposite 1's drive, 3 lifts behind.

As a call, 1 can just dribble at 4.

Mads Olesen - 5 sprints up to ballscreen any time 1 calls fist, or, as a read, 1 passes to 2 and makes a replace cut, putting on the brakes and replacing himself, 4 cuts to the basket, 5 sprints right off 4's back to ballscreen on the run, 2 drops to the corner. 4 hesitates under the hoop then corner cuts opposite 1's penetration. See Shake (below), also Tennessee Late clock #2.
Option - 4 can screen for 5 (a ram screen).

f) Dribble-dive

1 drives at 4 who dives and clears weakside, 1 keeps going into a DHO with 3, 1 pops to the corner, 5 picks and rolls.

See Offence - High-low sets (4-Flip).

Triano early offence (Dive) - 4 is denied, 1 dribbles right at him, passes to 3 and spaces away, 5 picks and rolls.

North Carolina (Dive) - 1 reverse dribbles, 4 goes backdoor, 3 comes up for a pass, 5 ballscreens.up

g) Double-dive

1 dribbles at 4 and 3 who dive and clear out, 5 relocates and circles into a pick and roll.

Double-dive is an option if X3 denies a dribble hand-off to 3 (Dribble-dive), or 1 waves through 3 (Ravens).up

h) Quick-fist

On eye contact, 2 blast cuts for a pass, 1 basket cuts and clears, 5 sprints out to pick and roll.

Billy Donovan - 1 can cut through or come back out the same side.

Oakland Loop-fist - 1-2 kickup, 5 picks and rolls, 1 replaces.
Larry Brown (Quick) - 5 trails the play, ballscreens for 2 after 1 passes and cuts. Double - 5 and 4 stagger screen.

See Zone set plays - Wave sidescreen.

Cross-fist (variation)

1 screens for 5 who sprints into the ballscreen (1 can put up a fist to screen for 5).

Calipari - 2 can turn down the ballscreen.
If 5 is a dominant post player, look for a pass coming off the screen then pick and roll if there is no pass inside ("Lowry").

Olesen - with a dominant post player it's a good option to have 1 set a screen for 5, who can come off the screen to post up then set the wing ballscreen. Variation - 1 dribbles out 2, who sets the inside screen.

Chris Oliver - the ballscreen can be a call, or a read if 5 goes over 1's screen.

Marc Hart - 1-2 kickup, 1-5 cross-screen, 5 comes off low (Throwback).up

i) Pistol-2

1 dribble-screens for 2, makes a hand-off and pops, 5 pick and rolls, sending 2 to the middle.

Mads Olesen - pistol fist - 5 sprints up to pick and roll as 2 receives the ball from 1.
Phoenix Suns (Dribble drag) - 5 trails the play, 1 DHOs with 2, 5 follows to pick and roll. 5 ballscreens for 1 if the DHO is denied (see Ravens). See Early 5-out actions (Flip-drag).

Kickback pistol - 1-4 kickback, 4-2 DHO, 5 ballscreens.
For a counter, see Tennessee (Play call #4).

j) Ravens

1 waves through 2,, 5 picks and rolls.
The screen can be flat or on either angle (e.g. a step-up).

Options on a 1-4 pass,

- 3 backcuts and clears, into dribble-drive
- 3 backcuts into a 4-2 Euro ballscreen, slip, or shallow cut (Billy Donovan)
- 3-2 pin-down into a 4-2 DHO (zoom action).
Option - 4 and 3 rotate behind the drive, see Offence - Kentucky dribble-drive (Quick 1), Petitgoue dribble-drive (High), also One X and Four X plays.

See Offence - Carleton Ravens (Dribble entry), Zone set plays - Wave sidescreen, Chris Oliver (3 stays).up

k) Fist

Fist is a spread ballscreen, 4 spaces wide, 5 comes out to pick and roll, the ballscreen can be flat or angled either way.

Here 5 sends 1 to the middle and 2 fills behind, see Ravens 2015, D'Antoni Pick and Roll.

5 can re-screen, sending 1 back to the outside (e.g. if X1 goes under or over, or 1 is a righty), see Van Gundy Shake.

1 can call for the screen, or put up a fist, and centre the ball to change the angle, see Van Gundy Spread, also Nate Oats Alabama Offence (Middle ballscreen).

Oakland Fist - 5 sprints up to ballscreen, if it doesn't work you are in dribble-drive.

Kentucky Fist - 1 can call fist then dribble from slot to slot, changing the angle. 1 faces the basket, 5 comes up right at him, not sideways, the screen can be flat or angled either way.

Lawrence Frank Strong - 5 comes up off the elbow nearest 1, who can go either way. 4 keeps spacing, if he's a non-shooter, put him down on the box.

Spread Pick and Roll - sprint into a flat ballscreen. If 4 can't or won't shoot on a pass, hard dribble at the corner.

Olesen - 5 can use misdirection, sprint up like he is going to set a screen to make 1 go middle but at the last second set it on the outside.

Tennessee playbook (Late clock #1) - 5 reads X1 to set the screen, e.g. ballscreen sideline if X1 is forcing sideline.

Raptors Offence a Symphony (shorting the pick and roll) - as 1 comes off the ballscreen, 4 goes along the baseline to the strongside, allowing 5 to roll to the basket, and 4 could pass to him. A drawback is that the ballhandler can't really attack the basket. See Dave Severns ballscreens (short action).

For similar action against zone defence see WABC - Pick and roll against zone.up

l) Early fist

5 rebounds, trails, and breaks off a late rim run to ballscreen in transition. 4 spaces.

Phoenix Suns (First big screens) - if 4 is a non-shooter, he can set a wide pin-down for 3.

Marshall Spread Ballscreen - 2-3-4 form a double side and single side. 5 makes a running slip to the rim if he knows X1 will go over the screen. X2's dilemma is tag the roll man or stay with 2 rising out of the corner.

Steve Kerr Offensive Concepts (Drag screen) - 1 can use or refuse the screen.
Another option is a trail 5 ballscreen for 2, who first gets a pass or DHO from 1 (see Quick-fist, Pistol-2).

See Fast breaks - Early 5-out actions.up

2) Break 4 Series

a) Swing

1 passes to 4 and corner cuts, 3 blast cuts, 4 passes and follows to pick and roll (or top pick and pop), 5 relocates.

Bill Self - 4 rolls or screens for a 3-point shot by 1.
Donovan - the screen angle is important, go under X3 to set it, make him go over. A double screen is an option.

On a call, 1 basket cuts and clears weakside, 4 can pick and pop.

Hoiberg - 1-4 kickback, 4 passes to 2 and follows to ballscreen (pitch get), or slip (pitch dive), or slip and 5 ballscreens (pitch split).
Bradley - 4 ballscreens for 3, or 1 and 4 stagger screen for 2.

See Fast breaks - LSU, Tactics - Lawrence Frank ballscreens (Swing), Enfield ballscreen spacing.up

b) Quick-drag

2 blast cuts, 1 passes and basket cuts, 4 picks and rolls or pops.
Carleton Ravens - pop or roll.
Nets (Pass ahead) - if 1 cuts to the ballside corner, 4 must pick and roll.
Tom Crean (Quick) - if 1 cuts to the ballside corner the pick and roll is automatic.

See Quick hitters - Duke actions (Wide), Fast breaks - Billy Donovan.up

c) Pistol-drag

1 dribble-screens for 2 (but can turn the corner), 4 picks and rolls.

Marc Hart - 1-2 DHO, 4 ballscreens (Pistol).

Duke actions (Exchange) - 4 can top pick and pop.

d) Gator

1 waves through 2 (or 2 is denied on a dribble-at), 4 ballscreens for 1.

Kentucky (Drag) - drag on the wing is elbow high, clear out the ballside corner.
Carleton (Sidescreen with 4) - 4 can ballscreen or slip.

See Quick hitters - Ravens, Ravens 2015, Zone set plays - Florida ballscreen 3s.up

e) Shake

A read. 2 blast cuts for a pass (flatten the defence), 1 stays or makes a replace cut (instead of a basket cut), 2 flattens on a return pass, 4 circles under the ball to pick and pop, 5 relocates.

Spurs 2007 (Automatic) - 4 rolls, 5 is opposite.

Peter Lonergan - Spacing & Decision Making - how does a good point guard get the ball back? Options on a pass to 2 are a) cut through (look for a give and go), b) stop (their defender sinks), bounce out, get it back, attack middle, c) exit to the ballside corner, d) vee away (hit the nail, loop cut), 4 comes to the ball, can pass to 1 (and follow to ballscreen).up

f) Drag

4 picks and pops, 5 relocates, enter the offence on the other side of the floor (crossing action). 4 can re-screen.

If 4 rolls, 5 comes back ballside (opening up a lob pass to 4).

4 can drag screen if 1 is under pressure, or 4 is denied, or X4 is protecting in the paint.

If X1 sags off 1 in transition, 4 can loop cut under 1 to create a triple gap (see Bollant rub cut, Oakland through).
1 can call for a drag ballscreen, e.g. point to the floor.
Carleton (Drag) - 4 circles under to pick and pop.
Tennessee (Late clock #3) - 5 ducks in, 1 throws back to 4 who drives.

Tom Crean (Drag) - they love random screens by the trailer.

Mike Neighbors - if 4 picks and rolls (or slips), 5 spaces to the short corner (see Shorting the pick and roll).

See Offences - Matt Bollant dribble-drive, Fast breaks - Phoenix Suns drag screens, Defences - Dave Severns ballscreens.up

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2007-24 Eric Johannsen