Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Fast breaks
Early ballscreens

Early ballscreens are effective entries into offence, and can be denial counters. These transition ballscreens are reads, not calls, triggered by the actions of the point guard. Decide whether to ballscreen with 4 (Break 4 series) or 5 (Break 5 series), e.g. whether X4 or X5 is the worst screen defender, or to get a big defender away from the basket.

Break 4
- Swing (ball reversal)
- Quick (wing entry)
- Florida (pistol down)
- Shake (ballscreen for 1)

Break 5
- Butler (ball reversal)
- Point through or Quick 5 (wing entry)
- Ravens (pistol down)
- Suns (ballscreen for 1)
- Dive (trailer denied)

Bill Self - ballscreen with the big whose defender can't hedge, or is lazy or in foul trouble.

Dave Smart - ballscreen the other team's best perimeter scorer to beat him up, screen with the attacker guarded by the worst ballscreen defender (the opposing big) to get him away from the basket. However, late in the game use the two best attackers.

Gregg Popovich - motion offence is used in transition, coach doesn't call plays, they are based on player and ball movement, and what the defence does.
Jay Triano - with intelligent players you can make reads off what the point guard does.
John Calipari - call "drag" for a ballscreen by 4 or "fist" for a ballscreen by 5.

See Fast breaks - Spurs 2007, also Bradley, Larry Brown, Florida 2006 (the trailer also has play-making discretion), Offences - Dribble-drive ballscreens (5 posts weakside), Kentucky ballscreens.

1) Break 4 series

Ballscreens with 4, each has a Break 5 counterpart.

a) Swing (ball reversal)

If 1 passes to 4, the ball is swung to 3, 4 follows to pick and roll or pop.

If X3 sags to avoid being screened, 4 can turn to pin screen, 3 shoots behind the screen or attacks opposite when X3 recovers.

John Brady - if 1 passes to 4, it's an automatic ballscreen, 4 passes to 3 and follows for a pick and roll.

Jim Les - let the trailer be a playmaker if he can make some plays, otherwise he is a reversal guy.

See Fast breaks - LSU, Bradley, Offence - Break 1.

If 3 is being pressured, 4 dribbles right at X3, 3 comes off for a hand-off, or goes backdoor. 4 rolls (shown) or pops.

See Fast breaks - Memphis (Through), 5star pro-style (Shake), Larry Brown (Get).up

b) Quick (wing entry)

1 passes to the ballside wing, basket cuts and clears weakside, 5 relocates, 4 picks and rolls or pops.
Billy Donovan - it's an automatic ballscreen if X4 is in the lane.

See Quick hitters - Duke actions (Wide), Offence - Carleton Ravens, Fast breaks - Florida 2006.

Progression - 1 can cut to the ballside corner, then fill behind the ballscreen. 4 has to pick and roll, so this is probably not a good option if he can shoot, give him room to pick and pop.

Bill Self - after screening, 4 dives and posts with both feet in the lane, or screens for a three-point shot by 1.

Tom Crean - Quick is automatic if 1 cuts to the ballside corner.

Note that a corner cut could trigger a different play.

See Offences - Bill Self ballscreens, Portland ballscreen, Fast breaks - Tom Crean (Quick), Versoix specials, and Unicaja Junior (4 needs space to play in isolation).up

c) Florida (pistol down)

Can be a denial counter, 1 dribbles at the ballside wing, 5 relocates, if 3 backcuts and clears, 4 ballscreens for 1, and can roll or pop.
Option - 1 waves through 3.
John Calipari - for drag on a wing, clear out the ballside corner.

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

If 3 gets a dribble handoff, 1 spaces, 4 picks and rolls, 1 lifts out of the corner to fill behind the ballscreen.

Option - 1 clears weakside, 4 can pick and pop.

See Fast breaks - Nets (pistol down), Quick hitters - Trail, Tactics - Ben Braun ballscreens (3-man weave), also Quick hitters - Duke actions (Exchange), Fast breaks - 5star pro-style (Wedge).up

d) Shake (wing entry)

1 passes to the ballside wing (flatten the defence) and stays (instead of a basket cut), on a return pass 4 circles under the ball to pick and roll or pop, 5 crosses the lane, 3 fills behind if 4 rolls.

Option - 5 stays ballside and replaces if 4 rolls.

See Fast breaks - Spurs 2007, Bill Self secondary, 5star pro-style (flattening the defence).

If 1 throws back to 4 popping, he can pass to 3 and ballscreen (or dribble hand-off).

As a denial counter, 1 can call for a shake (drag) ballscreen without passing to 3, e.g., hold up a fist, pat his head, point to the floor, or reverse dribble.

Here 5 stays ballside and replaces when 4 rolls.
Billy Donovan - 4 ballscreens if X4 is in the lane.

2) Break 5 series

Ballscreens with 5, who will usually roll, not pop.

a) Butler (ball reversal)

1 passes to 4 who swings the ball and basket cuts (or slips a ballscreen), 5 circles up to pick and roll.

4 can use a dribble hand-off and pop, 5 picks and rolls.

See Quick hitters - Butler ballscreens, Offence - Xavier middle ballscreens (4-out weave), Offence - Dribble-drive ballscreens (Butler).up

b) Point through or Quick 5 (wing entry)

1 passes to the ballside wing and clears weakside, 5 ballscreens, and can set a flat screen, allowing 2 to go right or left (shown).

4 should dive weakside if he is not a shooter.

Option - 1 can cut to the ballside corner.

Bill Self - 5 can set a butt screen with his chest facing X2's back, bury him with a reverse-pivot butt screen, 2 can go either way, 5 can roll or pop.

See Offences - Kowalczyk ballscreen (Point through), Bill Self ballscreen, Corner ballscreen, Fast breaks - Mavs, Quick hitter - Punch.up

c) Ravens (pistol down)

1 clears 2 on the dribble, 5 ballscreens.

Option - 2 circles to backscreen for 5, see Offence - Carleton Ravens.
Phoenix Suns - if 2 is denied a dribble hand-off (a dribble drag), 5 sets a deep pick and roll for 1.
See Fast breaks - Phoenix Suns drag screens.

If 2 gets a hand-off, 1 spaces, 5 picks and rolls.
Arizona Wildcats - 5 backscreens for 1 after the dribble hand-off.
Olesen - pistol fist - 5 sprints up from low weakside to pick and roll as 2 receives the ball from 1.

See Offence - Xavier middle ballscreens (Flip wide, 4-out weave).up

d) Suns (fist)

1 passes to 2, stays for a return pass, 5 sprints out to pick and roll, the ballscreen can be flat or angled, 2 and 3 flatten out, 4 spaces away (or dives weakside).
Olesen - 1 passes to 2 and makes a replace cut, instead of cutting through he puts on the brakes and replaces himself.

See Fast breaks - Suns 5-out (Fake the screen), Tom Crean (Pitch), Quick hitters - PG shallow cut, Offence - Dribble-drive ballscreens.

Option - 1 can just call for the ballscreen.
Olesen - 5 sprints up to ballscreen any time 1 calls fist, he 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.
Calipari - high-angle fist - 1 is facing the basket, screener 5 comes up right at him, not sideways, the screen can be flat or angled either way.

See Offences - Leitao 4-out 1-in motion (Phoenix screen), Tennessee playbook (Late clock #1), Kentucky ballscreens, Tactics - Lawrence Frank ballscreens (Strong), Van Gundy ballscreens (Shake), Quick hitters - Ravens 2015, Fast breaks - Phoenix Suns drag screens (first big screens).up

e) Dive

A denial counter, 4 is overplayed, 1 dribbles at him, 4 backcuts and clears, 1 passes to 3 and spaces away, 5 picks and rolls.

Dive does not have a Break 4 counterpart.

See Fast breaks - Spurs 2007, Larry Brown, Tubby Smith, North Carolina, Triano early offence, Offence - Kentucky 40 series (44).

Option - 1 keeps going to make a dribble hand-off to 3 and pops, 5 picks and rolls.

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2007-22 Eric Johannsen