One question I am frequently asked, “How do I come up with the play calls that I use for my plays?”. Until now, I have never taken the time to explain why I name certain actions the way I do. This was until I watched Stan Van Gundy’s lecture at the 2013 Coaching U Live and I became inspired to break it all down for you. However, before I dive into the names of particular actions to signal play calls, let’s discuss many of the most commonly run schemes in basketball.
Flex is probably the most known and run offenses in all of basketball. Why? Because it is extremely effective if not guarded correctly. Furthermore, it is a repetitive offense that if you can lull the defense to sleep, will result in lay-ups. Flex actions are designated by running a backscreen/downscreen action. If you want to be creative you can move your wings higher and set traditional backscreens to give more space/time to get open at the rim.
Monday night in their Game 4 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Oklahome City Thunder ran this action for a pick & roll. Throughout the game the Thunder continued to put Memphis into pick & roll situations with a shooter spaced away to force the defense to make a decision. This time, but moving Durant over top, X4 had to respect the cut for a moment which forced the defense to be a tad late on the pick & roll. Furthermore, the Memphis defense decided to stay home on 2 (Sefolosha) which allowed Ibaka to be open on the roll.
The Oklahoma City Thunder ran this action late in the 4th Quarter of yesterday’s game vs the LA Lakers. Kevin Durant had gone somewhat cold down the stretch and this shot helped get him going again.
As Westbrook (1) comes off the double pick from Durant (3) and Perkins (5), Perk got big/wide and set a good screen so KD could just pop back out for a quick catch & shoot three pointer.
The Bulls ran this action in the opening minutes of their game last night vs. the Miami Heat.
Initial Action: Initial action to start the play.
Flex Option- If X3 jumps on the high side to play the screen from 4, 3 will come off the flex screen from 1. 4 cleans up the play with a pin down for 1. What I love about this action is that if the defense tries to take away one of the options, the odds of the counter should be open.
Bump Option- This is actually how the play was run last night. 3 (Deng) bumped the screen from 1 (Watson) and come off the pin down from 4 (Noah) for a quick catch & shoot jump shot.
IF neither option(s) are open, the offense should spread the floor and go into a 5/2 Dribble Hand-Off.