July 31, 2020 • Man-to-ManPlayPlaysWinning HoopsXs and Os

Integrating Stagger & Re-Stagger Screens Into Man Offenses

by John Kimble, contributing writer

The “stagger-screen” has been around for a few years now and the new modification of the “stagger-screen” could be called  the “stagger and re-stagger screen.” When two offensive players set a stagger-screen for a teammate, this action is for two purposes. The most obvious is to free up a perimeter player by two off-the-ball teammates for a potential 3-point shot opportunity. The second less-obvious purpose of the stagger-screen is this type of action would require three offensive players and also takes place on the offense’s weakside, away from the basketball. This three-man action away from the ball should occupy all three weakside defenders. This means that the defender on the ball-side post player has no interior support defense.

The “Stagger-Screen” concept can be applied and integrated into both Secondary Fastbreak action as well as many half-court plays/entries from different half-court sets. Diagram 1 shows 01 pushing the ball down the court via speed dribble while also looking to advance the ball with a pass. After reaching the free throw (FT) line extended, both 03 and 02 dive to the basket and look for 01’s pass. If the Primary Break produces no layups, 01 dribbles off towards the FT line extended.  The first trailer (04) then veers off to the weakside elbow area and slash-cuts to the new ball-side block area. 04 looks to receive an inside pass from 01 or 02 now in the deep corner. 03 then rotates up to his wing area at the FT line extended, which then helps 04 isolate his defender by eliminating any help-side defense used to help defend 04 down low. The second trailer (05) also sprints down the court and pulls up at the top of the key. SEE Diagram 1 SECONDARY BREAK OPTION 1

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

No shots taken dictates that the ball is then swung to the opposite side of the floor to 03. 04 then flashes across the lane to the new ball-side mid-post area, with 05 and 01 then going to stagger-screen for 02 to break to the top of the key. If X4 plays behind 04, 03 should have great opportunities to deliver the ball inside to 04. If X4 aggressively attempts to deny the inside pass to 04 by fronting, this weakside three-man offensive action by (05, 01 and 02) should eliminate that help — giving 04 the spacing and opportunity to receive lob passes from 03. SEE Diagram 2 SECONDARY BREAK 1 (continued) 

One possible reason that 04 would not receive the ball from 03 is because of X3’s hard ball pressure or because X4 uses physical strength to keep the ball out of 04’s hands on the interior. When 03 reverses the ball back to 02 at the top of the key and 02 turns down his shot opportunity, the high degree of denial pressure that X4 has put on 04 could become an advantage with 05 and 01 now head-hunting for X4 again from X4’s blindside. The tighter X4 plays 04 on the original ball-side, the better chance that 05 and 01 has to set the second stagger-screen. The primary focus has been to shut down 04 inside and stop the “3” by 02 out on top. Another by-product from this action is that after setting the re-stagger screen, both 05 and 01 then become targets themselves in the lane. Either or both players could slip their screen and seal their defender off, thereby doubling the number of offensive interior threats. Also, with 02 having the ball centered up at the top of the key, 02 also has perimeter passing opportunities to 03 on the left wing and 04 cutting to the right wing. SEE Diagram 3 SECONDARY BREAK (3-OUT/2-IN)

Diagram 4 illustrates a play out of the “Low Double Stack” Set. As 01 approaches the top of the key, 05 and 04 both set pin-screens for03 and 02 respectively, tightly stacked behind on their respective blocks. Both 03 and 02 scrape off of those screens and break out to the wing area at the FT line extended on their respective side of the court. 01 can make the pass to either player at their wing.  After passing, 01 makes a “corner cut” — a straight line diagonal cut to the new ball-side deep corner area. The newly declared weakside post player (in this case, 05) breaks diagonally up to replace 01 at the top of the key. With 03 at the FT line extended and 05 at the top of the key, any possible help-side defense that X4 needs to deny 04 the inside pass will be eliminated, leading the offense to a higher shot percentage. SEE Diagram 4 LOW DOUBLE STACK

When 02 receives 01’s wing pass, he squares up to the basket, looks for his shot, or for his inside pass (to 04 who has sealed off of his defender after pin-screening for 02.). 02 could also pass to 01 after 01 has made his “corner cut.” From the deep corner, 01 has shooting, driving along the baseline, skip passing opportunities ( to 03 or 05),  or a possible inside pass to 04.  If 02 still cannot get the ball inside to 04, he should reverse the ball to 05 at the top of the key. As soon as the pass is made to 05, 02 should ‘shuffle-cut’ off of 04 at the ball-side post area and look for a pass from 05 on his shuffle-cut to the basket. If 02 doesn’t receive the pass from 05, he should continue across the lane to post up on the opposite side’s mid-post area and then look for 03’s inside pass. After 02 has made his ‘shuffle-cut’ off of 04’s screen, 05 and 04 cut to get in the proper angle to then set a stagger-screen for 01 to break to the top of the key for a great look at a ‘3-point shot.’ This action not only gives the offense a legitimate 3-point shot opportunity for 01 but also it eliminates help-side defense that X2 would need to defend 02 in the mid-post area. SEE Diagram 5 LOW DOUBLE STACK (continued) 

If 03 cannot make the inside pass to 02, he should reverse the ball to 01.  If X2 aggressively denies 02 the inside pass while on the ball-side post, 04 and 05 then turn back towards the ball and set the second stagger-screen for 02 to use on the opposite side’s perimeter area. This action puts tremendous pressure on a single defender, X2. At first, X2 had to beat the shuffle-cut back-screen (by 04) followed by an isolation post-up that is then concluded with a ‘re-stagger screen’ by the offense’s two ‘bigs’ (04 and 05.) After 01 has swung the ball to 02 off of the ‘re-stagger screen,’ 01 then diagonally cuts down to (down-)screen the first of the two (re-stagger) screeners (04) while the other screener seals his defender off and posts up back on the new ball-side mid-post. If no shots are still taken, the five offensive players have moved their defenders to extremes around the floor and now are in the proper “3-In and 2-Out” spot-up locations to continue attacking. SEE Diagram 6 LOW DOUBLE STACK (3-Out/2-In)

The next play/entry can be executed out of “Twins.” 01 must dribble off of either 05 or 04’s ball-screen to initiate the action. Diagram 7 shows 01 ‘dribble-scraping’ off of 04’s left shoulder with 03 cutting across the lane and on to the new ball-side deep corner off of 02’s pin-screen. After 04’s ball-screen for 01, 05 steps over to (flare-)screen the (ball-)screener. 04 then flare-cuts off of 05’s screen to the new weakside wing area. 01 looks to hit 02 posting up an unlikely post defender in X2 with minimal or no help-side interior support for him. 01 could look to hit 03 in the corner for a possible 3-point shot or for 03 to make the inside pass to 02. 01 could also skip-pass to 04 on his flare-cut on the wide-open weakside wing area. This can be especially effective if 04 can create and/or if X4 is discovered to be a poor perimeter defender (or in foul trouble.) SEE Diagram 7 TWINS

If nothing develops, 01 can reverse the ball to 05 at the top of the key and immediately ‘scrape off’ of 02’s ‘shuffle-cut back-screen’ and look for an inside pass from 05 out on top. If not open, 01 continues across the lane to post up another highly unlikely defender on the interior (X1). This defender also might not have the skills, the training, or the experience to be successful in denying 01 the inside pass. 05 looks inside and then swings the ball to 04 for 04 to make his attempt at making the inside pass to 01. After swinging the ball to 04, 02 and 05 stagger-screen for 03 to use at the top of the key. This action not only gives 03 a good look at a 3-point shot opportunity but also helps eliminate help-side defense that X1 most likely will need. SEE Diagram 8 TWINS (continued)

Diagram 9 shows 04 turning down the inside pass to 01 and reversing the ball to 03 at the top of the key. In this scenario, 03 turns down his 3-point shot at the top of the key. 02 and 05 are the players this time that then turn to step towards 01 to set the second stagger-screen for 01. On 04’s pass to 03, 01 then empties across the lane to then cut off the second stagger-screen and out to the opposite side’s wing area. The first of the re-stagger screeners (02) will then cut off of 03’s (down-)screen the (re-stagger-)screener while the second re-stagger screener (05) seals off his defender and posts up on the new ball-side block. 01 could have a perimeter shot opportunity as well as an inside pass opportunity to hit 05 inside or a perimeter pass chance of hitting 02 at the top of the key. All players are once again in the proper “3-Out/2-In” spot-ups to maintain the offensive attack. SEE Diagram 9 TWINS CONCLUDED (3-Out/2-In)

Another play/entry out of the “Twins” Set is a play that can also be executed towards either side, with 01 again dribbling off of either 05 or 04’s ball-screen near the top of the key. Diagram 10 illustrates 01 ‘dribble-scraping’ off of 04’s left shoulder so that he can dribble to that side’s wing area just at the FT line extended. 03 scrapes off of 02’s lane exchange cross-screen as soon as 01 has declared that he is dribbling towards 02’s original side of the floor. After 02 screens for 03, 04 and 05 diagonally cut down to then set a (stagger-)screen the (cross-)screener (for 02.)When 01 arrives at the FT Line extended, he immediately looks to make the inside pass to 03 posting up. 03 is the initial inside scoring threat with 02 then becoming the first 3-point shooting threat at the top of the key. 02 scrapes off of the stagger-screen and breaks up towards the top of the key, getting his feet and ready for the pass from 01. This 3-man action also helps eliminate help-side defense that an inverted (perimeter) defender such as X3 would need to successfully deny 03 the ball on the ball-side mid-post or it gives this play a very legitimate ‘3 pt.’ shot opportunity for 02. SEE Diagram 10 TWINS

If 01 did not make the pass to 03 on the block, it could very well be because of high-pressure denial by X3. If 02 receives the pass at the top of the key without taking a shot, 05 and 04 then change directions and again turn back towards 03 to set their second stagger-screen for 03. The greater the pressure on 03 in the post; the better opportunity that 03 will be able to get open off of 05 and 04’s restagger-screen. While 03 cuts off the stagger-screen, break out to the open wing area and receives 02’s wing pass, 02 then diagonally down-screens the inside player of the (second) stagger-screener (04) for 04 to break to the top of the key (becoming a ‘3 pt’ shot threat.) The stagger-screener on the outside (05) slips his part of the stagger-screen and posts up on the nearest block. If no shots are still taken, all five players are in the “3-Out/2-In” spot-ups to maintain a constant attack. SEE Diagram 11 TWINS CONCLUDED (3-Out/2-In)