Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Using screens


Lionel Hollins
FIBA Assist, issue 5

The key to using a screen is how well you read what the defence is doing. Options include going low, high, behind, or over the top of a screen. On some screens you can bump back for a jump shot or 1 on 1 (e.g., UCLA, flex, Hawk).


Off-Ball Screens

The screener usually picks an area and gets stationary. The cutter waits until the screen is set then sets up his man by faking away from where he wants to go. Both players then read whether the defence follows or shoots the gap. Counter-moves include:

- curl - if the xcutter trails, the cutter curls to the passer
- curl/slip - if the xscreener leaves his man to help on the curl, the screener slips the screen and rolls to the basket
- bump - if the xcutter shoots the gap or takes a short cut, the cutter bumps and pops away from the screen, the screener adjusts his screen with a drop step
- bump/slip - if the xscreener then goes out to take the cutter with the ball, the screener slips to the basket for a pass.



- if X4 trails, 4 curls around the screen (shown)
- if X4 goes under the screen (ballside), 4 bumps and pops out to the corner (push screen), 3 re-screens
- 4 pops to the wing if X4 runs into the screen
- 4 rejects the screen and cuts backdoor to the basket if his defender cheats up higher than the screen.


Wide-angle pin-down

- if X2 follows, 2 curls
- if X2 goes under the screen (ballside), 2 bumps and pops out (shown)
- if X2 goes on top of the screen, 2 makes a backdoor cut.


Cross screen

- if X5 goes over the screen, 5 cuts low along the baseline
- if X5 goes under, 5 stops in the lane
- if X5 cheats, 5 stops near the basket for a lob pass (shown).



- 2 cuts in the lane for a lob pass if X2 gets caught on the screen (shown)
- 2 cuts over the top if X2 goes low
- 2 cuts low if X2 goes high
- 2 bumps and pops out if X2 cheats early.

If 1 cannot pass directly after 2 cuts, screener 4 pops out for a pass and hits 2 posting up.



- if X1 stays on the screen, 1 cuts for a lob pass
- if X1 goes outside, 1 cuts inside
- if X1 goes inside, 1 cuts outside
- if X1 cheats, 1 bumps and pops to the ball (shown).

The same options apply on a flex or Hawk cut.


Flare screen

- if X2 goes over the screen, 2 flares then cuts in the lane
- if X2 goes inside, 2 flares outside (shown)
- if X2 cheats early, 2 cuts directly into the lane.


On-Ball Screens


The players on the weakside are in a triangle, and the post player always ducks in.

If X3 follows, 3 turns the corner and the screener rolls to the basket.

If X3 goes under the screen, 3 stops and takes a jump shot.

If X5 shows and X3 goes over, X3 can go out and around the show, or go in and split the show. Either way it is important to keep the dribble alive and get separation from the screen. 3 will also split if X5 shows but doesn't appear ready to play hard.

If X3 cheats over the screen, 3 drives baseline.


If X3 and X5 trap, 3 takes two dribbles away and finds the open teammate (the screener, or the teammate whose defender has gone to help on the screener). The offence has to spread the defence.

The screener may want to slip the screen early to provide an outlet for the passer, forcing a rotation and finding quickly finding the open teammate.


If the defence forces 3 baseline (an "ice" situation), 3 can drive for a jump shot or pass to the screener who rolls to the basket or pass to the player who has flashed from the weakside low post to the ballside elbow (or the nearest attacker goes to the elbow).


Top screen

If the defence forces 1 wide, he passes to the screener who rolls.

If X1 goes under the screen, 1 stops and takes a shot.

If X1 follows, 1 turns the corner.

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-17 Eric Johannsen