Basic Flex Offense

The [tag]Flex Offense[/tag] is probably one of the most popular offensive sets used in basketball today.  Similar to the Motion offense, the Flex offense uses a lot of movement by the players and screens to create open holes for lanes to the basket.  What separates it from the Motion offense in many respects is that a coach will design set plays, or use one of the standard flex sets to run this offense.

This is a man-to-man offense that has a basic 2 – 3 set up, with one side slightly unbalanced with the post on that side.  The flex offense also has a few different variations:

-“ The [tag]Gonzaga Flex[/tag]
-“ The [tag]Flex stack[/tag]
-“ The [tag]Kentucky Flex[/tag]
-“ The [tag]flex-motion[/tag]

But, these are simply variations of the same basic offensive idea.

The 2 – 3 Flex Offense

As mentioned earlier, this is similar to the motion offense – especially in the movement and the number of picks that are set.  A few rules to remember will help your players figure out the flex offense.  Everyone has a responsibility to remember these rules in order for this offense to work:

-“ Once you set a pick, you will receive a pick set for you.

-“ When you get a pick, you will either set a pick or get a pass

-“ Once you pass, you will then go to set a pick

-“ If you catch a pass, you will then either shoot or make a pass (if pass, then you will see rule #3).

Further, in order to make this offense successful, you must teach your players the following:

-“ Set good, strong screens
-“ Make crisp passes – and on time for the cuts
-“ Be quick to make the move off a pick, but be patient enough to wait until the screen is set. 

These are important to making this offense work.
The 2 – 3 Flex Offense – Basic alignment

The following graphic shows the basic flex offense, however, there are several variations of it that a coach can employ.


The basics of the flex offense tell you that when you make a pass then you go to set a screen.  So the 1 man makes a pass to the 2 man, and then goes to set a screen for the 5 man. 

Also, one of the rules says that once someone sets a screen for you, you must receive a pass or set a pick for someone else.  As the 1 man cuts across the key, and the 5 man sets a screen for that player, they might receive a pass, or then the set a screen for the 3 man. 

So, after the first pass (which sets the offense in motion), a series of screens takes place.  With each screen comes the potential for a pass, and then another screen.  That is how the offense works. 

From the 2 man’s position, there are several options as the offense goes through its evolution:

-“ After the first pass from the 1 man to the 2 man, a return pass can be made to the 1 man, but a screen will usually be set for the 5 man. Simultaneously, the 3 man will be utilizing a screen from the 5 man.  The 2 man can make this pass immediately if open.
-“ After the first stage, the 5 man gets a screen from the 1 man, and then cuts to the top of the key, or goes back door to receive a pass.  If they don’t receive a pass, then come to the perimeter to reset the offense to the other side.
-“ The 2 man can also then decide to make a pass to the right-winger, after the screen from the left-winger coming across (after the screen from the post.).
-“ The right guard should not have dribbled to this point, waiting for the right opportunity to make a pass as the screens work out. 

After the first few screens illustrated in the first diagram, you should end up with a configuration similar to the first one.  If there is no pass made after one of the screens and no basket attempted, then the flex offense simply starts again.


So, what you will notice is that after the first few screens, the formation is very similar to the initial one – except that the winger is now the post on the right side of the key.

The next step is the same as in the first part of the offense.  The right guard (yellow) makes the pass to the post player, now on the perimeter.  Then the left guard sets a pick for the winger down on the post.  The winger on the post sets a screen for the winger on the right perimeter as they cut across the key.

After this second diagram, you should understand the basics of the flex offense.  It ends up the same after each run through – if there is no pass or shot opportunity.

The key to this offense is setting good screens, and making good cuts.  And when the opportunity arises to make a pass that results in a clean shot!