Back Screen: Description (NBA)

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Next Best Actions

The back screen is the first screening action that we’ll discuss in the Read & React offense.  It is used as a Next Best Action for cutters.  It can also be used as a way to get a player who is in the post into a perimeter spot, or visa versa.

Let’s talk first about the back screen as a NBA.  This NBA can be executed “on accident” or on purpose. Either way it can be effective in creating screening actions, continuity of movement as well as openings for both the screener and the cutter. Back Screens are most effective when set on players 1 pass away from the ball.

In a 5 out scenario, let’s pretend 1 passes to 2 and cuts to the rim.  Based on the Pass, Cut & Fill layer, they are supposed to fill out to the left side of the floor.  What happens if they fill out to the wrong side?  Does the play stop?  Does the offense reset?

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That’s not necessary at all.  The Back Screen Layer allows this player who “made a mistake” to turn this mistake into a good screening opportunity. The cutter just screens for the player in the corner who cuts to the rim and then fills the open spot if they don’t receive a pass.  This is also a good opportunity for the screener to get an open shot.

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This action happens primarily in a 5 out setting.  In 4 out 1 in and 3 out 2 in alignments, there is almost always an open spot for a player to fill. The diagram below shows how it can happen in a 4 out 1 in alignment.

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Of course these “accidental” actions can certainly be purposeful as well.  Purposeful back screens can occur anywhere on the court and can shock defenders who are caught off guard.  Back screens are also the first step in being able to set staggered screens.

We’ll discuss the specifics of setting screens in an upcoming post.  For now it’s enough to know that any cutter can set a back screen. When they set a back screen can be up to you or up to them.  You can have them set back screens after every cut.  You can have certain players look to set back screens.  It’s up to you and how you want to run your team.

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