Ray Allen. Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan. Those are just some of the names that come to mind when you think of shooting guards, and they all have one thing in common – the ability to score the basketball. When thinking of the prototypical 2-guard, they would ideally have the skill to create their own shot off the dribble, catch and shoot off of screens, and make a couple plays for their teammates.
Hitting the actual shot is one thing, but learning how to use a screen properly is an entirely different one, and can make the difference between a wide open look and an easily contested shot.
Today we’ll look at the downscreen specifically, and the different reads available based on how the defense reacts.
One of the biggest mistakes young players make is misusing the screen – sometimes this is the screener’s fault, sometimes it is the screenee’s. A good rule of thumb for the downscreener is to have their back pointing in the direction they want their teammate to run. It’s also very important for the man using the screen to not leave any space for the defender to squeeze through, slipping the screen.
Another mistake that players make far too often is coming off the screens too wide. By coming out into the far wing instead of the high wing, it’s easier for you defender to step around the screen, and also makes a much longer pass from the top, leaving it vulnerable to interception.
The correct way to use the downscreen is to lead your defender deep into the key, and then come off up into the high wing area. By using such a strong vertical angle, you make the screen much more effective than it would be using the wide angle normally used to go to the wing.
While it does open up the option for the defender to slide up the middle of the key and slip the screen that way, there is a quick counter available to you as well should the defender do that – simply fade out to the corner of the three point line. Your screener should adjust their screen, pivoting to point their back at the corner as opposed to the high wing.
If you have got the screen use down, and you just need to work on hitting the shot, here`s a great 3-point shooting drill!