Pin Screen: Defensive Fundamentals

The Pin Screen helps offenses counter help side defense. It is difficult to defend an action that takes advantage of defenders being in the correct position. For most other off ball screening actions, being in the proper position makes a defender harder to screen. In this case, the opposite is true.

Would you tell your players to not be in help position so that they don’t get screened?  I don’t think so, but they might start inching closer to their player and out so that they don’t get screened. It may only take one step to cause a late rotation.That’s part of what makes this weak side screen so effective.

The key to defending the pin screen is to make the pass as difficult as possible. Ball pressure can make the screen irrelevant if the ball handler can’t see the receiver or is under too much pressure to make a good pass. If there is a lack of ball pressure, there isn’t much a defense can do to keep the pin screen from being effective.

Once a defender recognizes that the offense is setting a pin screen, the defender can work to get to either the high side or the low side of the screen.  This way, it becomes easier for them to closeout on the pass while it is in the air. The defender must move on the pass and must closeout well while avoiding the screen as best they can.

In the end, defending a pin screen starts with good ball pressure. However, if the ball handler can make a good solid skip pass, a Pin Screen is one of the most effective tools against defenses who place a priority on being in help position when they are away from the ball.