April 18, 2019 • OffenseWinning Hoops

Learning the ‘2-3 Pro Set’ offense

by John Kimble, contributing writer

Wing, guard and pop entries to help your team flourish

2-3 pro set 1
Diagram 1

The “2-3 Pro Set” is a versatile man-to-man offensive set that has the potential for a large number of entries and plays that flow immediately and easily into various man continuities, such as a 2-in, 3-out motion offense, a triangle power game or Flex.

The alignment starts with the point guard (1) and the big guard (2) out at the top of the key, spaced apart by the width of the free throw lane. The small forward (3) and the power forward (4) are aligned on both sides at the free-throw-line extended, with the center (5) starting at the free throw line.

DIAGRAM 1: The first entry could be described as the wing entry. This entry is when either 1 or 2 passes the ball to the teammate at the wing area, located on their side at the free-throw-line extended — 1 to 3 or 2 to 4.

2-3 pro set 2
Diagram 2

In this case, we have 1 pass the ball to 3 on the left side of the floor. The guard that did not pass the ball to the wing cuts first, but both 2 and 1 scissor cut off of 5’s stationary backscreen at the free-throw line. 1 ends up at the block on the right side, with 2 ending up on the left side on the ball side.

DIAGRAM 2: If 3 doesn’t hit 2 first or 1 second, he or she then looks to come off the ball screen set by 5 outside of the elbow area while 4 downscreens for 1 on the weak-side block. 2 steps up to backscreen 5 after he or she sets the ball screen and 5 runs a lob route to the basket.

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3 looks for penetration, a jump shot, a pass to 1 off the downscreen or to hit 5 on the lob off of the “pick the picker” action. 3 ends up at the top of the key, with 2 on the left wing, 1 on the right wing, 5 at the left block area and 4 at the right block area.

2-3 pro set
Diagrams 3-4

DIAGRAM 3: The second entry is called “Pop” and can be run to either side. After the wing pass is made, and 5 doesn’t go over to ball screen 3, he or she can pop out to the top of the key to receive the reversal pass from 3.

DIAGRAM 4: This initiates the action of the wing players to both head hunt the defenders that are guarding 2 and 1 on the blocks. They both pop out to the free-throw-line extended, while the two downscreeners then post up on their respective blocks as the ball is centered up at the top of the key.

The third entry, called the guard entry, can have several options after the initial action. The guard entry also can be executed to either side, with one guard passing the ball to the other guard.

In this example, we have 2 reverse the ball to 1, as 2 remains in his or her original position. 1 could then start the wing entry or the pop entry by passing the ball to 3, and 2 could then shuffle cut off of 5’s backscreen.

But if 2 passes the ball to 1 and immediately cuts off of the backscreen set by 05 at the free-throw-line extended, we are executing the guard entry. If 1 doesn’t hit 2 for a lob pass, 2 ends up in the middle of the lane, as shown in DIAGRAM 5.

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2-3 pro set diagrams 5-6
Diagrams 5-6

5 then steps out to the top of the key to set a ball screen for 1. 3 cuts off of the backscreen set by 2 at the low post area and continues through and out of the lane off of the downscreen that 4 then sets for him or her on the opposite side of the floor.

3 ends up on the opposite side of the floor near the deep corner. After 5 sets the ball screen for 1, 5 then downscreens for 2 to execute the pick-the-picker concept. 1 looks for a short jump shot off of the 5 ball screen, 3 on the perimeter, 4 posting up after their downscreen or 2 at the weak-side elbow area.

If nothing develops off of this series of one ball screen, the cuts, the four off-the-ball screens and the posting up, all five players are in the proper locations to have a smooth transition into the Flex Continuity, as shown in DIAGRAM 6.

This series of three separate plays are all executed out of the same alignment with the same apparent types of passes to initiate the action. It should be very difficult for the opposition to recognize (and therefore defend) which entry is being attempted. Other entries could easily be added to the offensive repertoire to make this an even more unpredictable man-to-man offense for the opposition to defend.

John Kimble coached basketball for 20 years in Illinois and Florida, accumulating more than 340 wins. He has authored five coaching books, 90 articles and created 28 coaching videos. He can be found at www.CoachJohnKimble.com.