New Coaching Article Weekly
One recommendation I've made countless times over the last few seasons:
Use your guards as screeners more often in your offense.
This was a rare thing to see for many years.
For the most part -- and I'm well aware there were some exceptions -- the role of setting screens has been exclusively the responsibility of the "bigs" on the team.
Nearly all screens were set to force a switch, roll the screener to the hoop, and take advantage of the roller's mismatch.
We're seeing more and more guards setting screens as innovative coaches look to confuse the defense and create advantages in other ways.
For example, I once wrote an email on Joe Harris screening James Harden.
Here's a snippet from that:
"The Nets often use Joe Harris (who shoots 44% from three) as a screen-setter for James Harden (one of the best passers in the NBA). Instead of rolling to the hoop, Harris will screen then "pop" out to the 3-point line -- "Pick-and-Pop."
This variation is incredibly hard to defend against.
Give Harden half a step and he'll attack and finish (or draw the foul), give up an open shot to Harris and it's an easy three points. Unless the ball-screen defense is perfect, the Nets are getting an open look."
So the pick-and-pop is one option when screening with a good shooter.
Another super effective and innovative option?
The Ghost Screen, which I think we'll see much more of at all levels of basketball in the coming years.
It works like this:
A shooter / playmaker (preferably) steps up to the ball acting like they're about to set an on-ball screen... but it's a fake... and at the last second they quickly cut to open space and receive the ball where they can shoot immediately or attack.
This is a quick way to get someone open and create an advantage.
Even if you don't have players who can knock down three-pointers consistently (youth coaches), this tactic WILL confuse the defense and force rotations.
So that's what a ghost screen is...
If you're interested in a much deeper dive, the article titled "The Magic Behind Ghost Screens in Basketball" in this week's issue of the BFC Magazine will cover: