Ball Screen Notes

My topic this year to study is ball screens. I pick a new one each year. Two seasons ago, I studied free-throw blockout action and free-throw breaks. Last season, I studied spread offenses. This season, I am taking a deep dive into ball screen offense.

Here are some new thoughts that I have on ball screen offense.

When setting a ball screen on the wing (inside screen):

The back of the ball screener (butt crack) should point towards the opposite corner of the floor. This forces the on-the-ball defender to go over the screen more often than when setting the ball screen parallel to the sideline does. A team's ball screen defense has less options when the on-the-ball defender consistently has to fight over ball screens.

When to slip?

  1. The ball screener should slip when the ball screen defender habitually hedges regardless of the on-the-ball defender's actions.

  2. The ball screener should slip when the defense switches, but before slipping, "tag" or "touch" the lower hip of the on-the-ball defender before separating to the slip.

  3. The ball screener should slip when the on-the-ball defender opens their hips or shoulders to the screen, versus staying closed to the ballhandler.

Have ball screen sets where the ball screener arrives alone.

Make x5 or x4 (whomever sets the screen) help on early actions before the ball screen. Such actions include a back screen before the ball screen and a "ram screen." A ram screen is action where another player screens the ball screener's defender to get him free to go set the ball screen.