I’m often asked by coaches how many offensive basketball plays they should be running.  My answer is always the same.

“As few as possible”

I feel strongly that most teams only need 2 offensive basketball plays: one against man to man and one versus a zone.  Of course, you’ll need inbounds plays, press breaks, etc., but 2 half-court plays is all you really need.

Against man to man, I recommend a simple motion offense.


For the purposes of these plays…

1=Point Guard

2=Shooting Guard

3=Small Forward

4=Power Forward



Start with your 1, 2 and 3 players around the perimeter, around 5 feet outside the 3-point line.  Your 4 and 5 players will post up on the low blocks (just outside the key underneath the basket.  The point guard should begin with the ball in the middle of the court.  Start the [tag]play[/tag] by passing the [tag]basketball [/tag]from the top over to either the 2 or 3 man at the wings.  Let’s say he passes to the 3 man.
When that happens, the point guard has 2 choices.  He can either screen away (ie. set a screen for the 2 if he passed it to the 3), or make a give and go cut.  Whichever move he decides to make, he must first misdirect… fake a cut going one way, then make the real cut going the other way (the key here is change of speed and change or direction).

If the point guard sets a screen for the shooting guard, the shooting guard will come off the screen looking for a jump shot at the foul line. If that is not open, he will fade back beyond the three point line as a safety valve.

If the point guard makes the give and go cut, he will slice through the lane looking for a pass and to score in traffic.  If he does not receive the ball, he will continue through the lane, then turn away from the ball.  As this is happening, the 2 will fill the spot at the top of the key that has been just vacated by the point guard.  The point guard will finish his give and go cut, then come around and fill the spot just vacated by the 2 man.

You’ve now come back to the original perimeter position with your 1, 2 and 3 around the three point line.

As this is happening the ball side post player (ie. the one standing on the same side as the wing player with the ball) is going first look for the ball.  Make sure he gets low, keeps the defender on his back, and gives a passing target by putting out his hands.  After 3 seconds, if he is unable to get the ball, he will set a screen for the “weak side” post player (ie. the one standing on the opposite side as the wing player with the ball).  The weak side post player first misdirects, then comes across the lane looking for a pass.

It’s important to use the screens properly by brushing shoulder to shoulder… not allowing any space for the defender to squeeze through.  It the post player is open, feed the ball to him for a layup.
If the pass is not there, the wing player reverses the ball back up top, where the 2 players is now waiting.  We are now back to the same position we started in.  The 2 man reverses the ball over to the 1 man, and the play continues.

This process runs as a continuous “motion”, with all players continually passing, cutting, and screening away.
I’ll post tomorrow on the second offense you need to know… something I like to call the Zone Buster.