Pin Screen: Combining actions

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Combining Actions

The pin screen may or may not result directly in a scoring opportunity. As a result, teams must be able to combine actions with the pin screen to maximize on the opportunity.  The pin screen can quickly shift the defense and create opportunities for the ball handler, perimeter cutter or post player take advantage of the defense if it did not react appropriately. The pin screen must be followed by actions and proper reactions to fully take advantage of any defensive breakdowns.

So what could happen next following a pin screen if the receiver doesn’t shoot (but maybe even if they do)?

  1.  They could drive. If the receiver’s defender closes out poorly, they should look to attack. They can attack either baseline or middle. On either drive, the other four players should react to the drive appropriately.
  2. If the receiver doesn’t have an opportunity to attack, the player who screened could be open if they have sealed their defender well.  If the pin screener is a good post option, this is a great way to get the ball inside.
  3. Remember the rule on any skip pass is that the player who is one pass away from the receiver becomes the cutter.  It is possible that there are no players 1 pass away, in which case there would not be a cutter.  However, if there is a cutter, there is a good chance this player will be open.

4. What if the screener is not a good post up option? The coach may decide to have the screener go to the other side of the floor. This creates more space for the drive, potential cutters as well as another pin screen opportunity. Having this player on the weak side also provides a weak side rebounder on any shot attempt.

Below is one example of a possession that combines actions in different ways.  This possession starts with a pin screen and incorporates a total of 4 pin screens.  Each one will be explained as we progress through the possession.
Page 366

The possession starts with the post player on the weak side. The post player finds 4’s defender in help and pins her in.  4 hears the pin screen call and slides down to line up with 1 and 5. This helps set up the pin screen and increases the closeout time for 4’s defender.







Page 367When the screen is set, 1 skips the ball to 4. In this situation, 5 isn’t going to be a good post option.  Maybe they didn’t have good position or maybe they thought 4 might shoot it so they wanted to be ready for the weak side rebound.  In this situation, 3 decided not to cut since they weren’t exactly one pass away from 4 when the pass was made.  It wouldn’t be wrong for 3 to cut. In fact they would probably be open, but let’s just say for now that they didn’t.  Instead 1 and 3 just fall in their spots.  Notice that 2 does not fill in. It would not be wrong for 2 to fill, but since 2 is more than 2 passes away, this is acceptable (and probably preferred).

5 decides to set another pin screen on their way to the other side of the floor, because 2’s defender sprinted hard to the midline into help position.



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So now on 5’s second pin screen 2 lines up with 4 and 5. 4 recognizes the pin screen call and skips the ball to 2. Again in this instance, 2 doesn’t have a good shot or drive opportunity.  Again there is no player 1 pass away from 2 so there is no cutter. If 1 wanted to cut that would not be wrong.  But let’s say again that 1 and 3 just fill.


Against man to man defense, it’s very likely that something would have happened by now, but let’s assume the defense is closing out really well and the offense has to work some more.



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5 again slides to the other side of the lane and find 4’s defender again.







Page 370
Again the pin call is made and 2 skips the ball to 4.







Page 371

Now something a little different is about to happen. 3 is definitely one pass away this time so that is an automatic basket cut.  If 5 can recognize it quickly enough, maybe they can set a back screen for them as they go by.  1 fill in but again 2 stays because the one pass away spot is already filled.






Page 372


3 finds 2’s defender helping on the action in the lane and pins that player again. 2 lines up with 3 and 4 and readies for the skip pass.








Page 373
Maybe 3 has a mismatch in the post and so 3 decides to stay in the post and seal after the skip pass.  1 fills again back to the other side of the floor.






Page 3742 realizes that the defender doesn’t closeout well this time and attacks baseline.  4 becomes the pitch option. 1 becomes the safety option. 3 and 5 fill the 90 and 45 degree windows.







Is it normal to set 4 pin screens in a possession?  That depends on the defense and how you coach your team. Is it likely that each of these 4 options will in some way, shape or form occur over the course of a game? Definitely.

The pin screen is an excellent tool to create offense for your team. Can your players throw a good skip pass?

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