Ganon Baker, former assistant coach at Hampton, Belmont Abbey, and Coastal Carolina, was also playercoach of a team in Iceland. He teaches one-on-one moves at camps and clinics all over the US, and he was also invited to give clinics in Australia and New Zealand. He produced five videos and DVDs on these moves with Championship Productions.
I have been working out players for 16 years. This includes high school, college, European pros, NBA, and WNBA players.
Even now, I am still amazed at how effective the ball screen is at every level.
The two most dominant “plays” in the game consist of a dominant player and a ball screen. You must pay attention to some details to make these plays work.
If you have proper spacing, a decent big man, and a good point guard, then the ball screen can be your greatest asset. However, your point guard and big man must know their options and how to read a play. Let’s take a look.
First of all, coaches must teach each player involved in the screen how to execute movement effectively to create space.
THE SCREENER SHOULD:
1. Sprint to the screen. This way, the defense can’t be attached and stop the ball handler.
2. Aim for the buttocks of the defender of the ball handler. This will ensure that there will be contact between the screener and ball handler’s defender (photo 1, 2 and 3).
3. The screener should drop their hips, with their feet shoulder-width apart. This helps them absorb contact (photo 4).
THE BALL HANDLER SHOULD:
1. With the dribble or in the triple threat, get the defender below the screen. Occupy so they don’t deny (photo 5).
2. Attack the screener’s foot or the defender’s top foot with two dribbles. This makes the defense stretch out and will create openings or confusion (photo 6, 7 and 8).
3. They should not hesitate in their decisionmaking. To make the correct reads the guard must be confident in their reactions. Let’s look at them.
THE BALL HANDLER SOLUTIONS INCLUDE:
1. They can “turn the corner”. Drive to the basket (diagr. 1).
2. Split the screen. When the defender hedges too high, they can drive between the defense and the screener (diagr. 2).
3. Reject it. The ball handler goes opposite the screen if the defense is on top of the screen (diagr. 3).
4. Stretch the defense. They can use a “bounce off” dribble (a slow slide dribble) if the defense doubles up on the ball handler or the screener’s defender stays with the ball handler (diagr. 4).
5. Pull up behind the screen and shoot. If the defender goes under the screen, then the ball handler can take one or two dribbles and shoot (diagr. 5).
THE SOLUTIONS FOR THE SCREENER ARE:
1. Pop. If they are a shooter and space is available, they take two steps to their next spot or two slides.
2. Pull. If they are a finisher, no one is between them and the basket, and a spot is filled to pop, you drive hard to the basket.
3. Slip. If while screening, no one is between you and the basket, you sprint to the basket. After the ball handler clears the screener, then they should roll or pop. A twosecond or two-dribble measure is good to use.
Now there are five possible angles of the ball screen that we teach here at Ganon Baker Basketball Services.
These are important to know because as a coach you can use them in your offensive system without always having to reset.
You can run these in the context of the offense.
When practicing by yourself, you must know what kind of shots you can take and where to get them.
THE FIVE ANGLES OF THE BALL SCREEN
1. Side. This is the most popular of the five angles of the ball screen in college, Europe, NBA, and WNBA. Make sure the screen is not too close to the sideline. From this, you can expect the screener to roll/pop, the guard to take a jump shot or go to the basket, a player on the weak side to drop towards the basket for a pass, or the player on the weak side to take a shot (diagr. 6 and 7).
2. Middle. This is most popular with high school players because of the spacing of the court (diagr. 8). Screener’s feet are pointed at either sideline (diagr. 9).
3. Flat. Same set as a high/middle ball screen, but the screener’s feet are facing half court line as you can see in diagrams 10 and 11. The screener can pop either way.
4. Horns. The flat and horns set is very popular in the WNBA and NBA (diagr. 12 and 13).
5. Baseline step-up. This is becoming more popular on all levels. Make sure the screener stays away from the sideline (diagr. 14 and 15).