Pin Screen: Description

This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Next Best Actions

The Pin Screen creates offensive advantages in a variety of situations.  It is a screen set on a player in a help position to keep them in help position and open a passing lane to that defender’s player.  Any cutter can set a pin screen. They can also be set by post players. They can be set at a variety of angles and in a variety of locations. Since this series is focused on NBA’s, we will focus on setting the Pin Screen as a NBA.  We will discuss this again when we talk about Post Screening options.

Pin screens are best set on the defender closest to the ball in help.  The goal in setting a pin screen is to delay the defender’s closeout on a skip pass.  Over time, this may draw the defender out of help position or create mismatches as defenses adjust to defend this screen.

We’ll look first at Pin Screens set by cutters.

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Here 1 passes and cuts to the basket.  Instead of filling out, they see that 4’s defender is in help position in the lane.  They decide to stop and “Pin” in the defender.  Remember from the pass and cut layer, players have to fill spots that are one pass away from the ball.  In this case, 4 fills the open spot, but is not required to.  When 1 sets the pin screen on 4’s defender, 4 goes back to their original position, inline with 1 and the ball handler (2).
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Keep in mind 2 does not have to make this pass.  It is just an option.  If 2 does not make the pass, 1 again becomes a “cutter” and can execute another NBA or 1 can just fill out to the perimeter.  For the sake of the discussion, let’s assume 2 makes the pass to 4.  1 would immediately open up to the ball and look for the ball. If they were to receive a pass, the passer would Laker Cut.  If they do not receive the ball, they again become a “cutter” and able to execute another NBA.

In the diagram above, they do not receive the ball and begin to fill out to the other side. On the way, they recognize another defender in help position.  1 turns and sets another pin screen on this defender.  This could be 2’s defender or 5’s defender.  Either are options.

Notice 2 does not fill the top spot in this diagram.  This keeps 2’s defender in help position giving 1 the option to set the pin screen on either defender.  2 could fill to the top spot.  Neither is right or wrong.  However, the best way to set up a pin screen for perimeter players is to be patient when they fill spots.  In the below diagram, 1 could set another pin screen for 4, but this time 1 decides to fill the corner spot.

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When a pin screen is set, the screener should call the ball handler’s attention to the screen by screaming “PIN!”  This also tells the perimeter player to line up with the screener and prepare to receive the pass. If they do not receive the pass, they will still have the opportunity to fill as needed.

Keep in mind the different ways that a player can become a cutter.  Their teammate might “dribbled-at” them, and made them a cutter.  It could have been a result of a Read Line cut.  Maybe a teammate set a back screen for them.  Cutters can set pin screen after any of those actions.

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