March 19, 2018 • 1-4 SetWinning Hoops

Proven entries from a 1-4 low set

by John Kimble, contributing writer

These entries are all run from the same 1-4 low set, positioning 4 and 5 just outside the free throw lane. 2 and 3 always start in the deep corners outside the three-point line, with 2 on the right and 3 on the left. This alignment gives the post players horizontal room to operate in the paint, while providing the perimeter players room to cut high and low along the baseline.

Each entry has multiple options that can either utilize a player’s offensive strengths or attack a defense’s weaknesses. Each may be run to the right or left, making the entries unpredictable and more dangerous. All entries flow smoothly into four-out, one-in spot-ups to begin the next phase of your attack. This prevents defenses from regrouping.

Offensive concepts incorporated into these entries include ball screens, lane exchange cross-screens, backscreens, flare screens, pin screens and various screen-the-screener action. There’s a great deal of ball and off-the-ball movement that serves specific purposes. Some of this movement is used to stretch and weaken the defense before the offense probes inside for high-percentage shots or to earn a foul. The dribble is used to improve passing angles.

With our naming configuration, the second digit in each play relates to the specific entry that we’re running, while the first digit is a decoy that carries no meaning. The first entry is what we call the “0” play. That means any call for 20, 30 or 40 signals the same entry.

DIAGRAM 1: Play ‘0.’ The point guard must signal which side of the floor they want to initiate the entry. When 1 calls for this play to be run to the right side, 4 must break up and set a ball screen for 1 at the top of the key. When 1 comes off of the ball screen, they look for 4 rolling down the lane toward the basket, while 5 steps up to the weak-side elbow area.

When the weak-side post player pops to the weak-side elbow, this wipes out the opposition’s “big” weak-side help. 1 can rub off of the ball screen and look to drive to the basket, pass to the rolling ball screener (4), pitch out to the ball-side corner (2) or make a reversal pass to the weak-side elbow area (5). This gives 2 an opportunity to shoot off of the pass, make an inside pass to the ball-side post player (4) or return the ball to the point guard (1).

After the “pick-roll” is executed, all five players are in four-out, one-in spot-ups, meaning that on the first reversal pass to the player on the weak-side elbow (5), the next phase of the offense can begin. This allows continuous, purposeful and organized movement, creating difficulties for the defense.

DIAGRAM 2-3: Play ‘1.’ This play is signaled by calling any two-digit number, as long as the second number is one. This play calls for the point guard to attack the basket any way that they can. The movements by the other four players is two-fold. Their movement occupies the off-the-ball defenders, so they cannot help with the attacking point guard. The second purpose of their movement is to put themselves in the same four-out, one-in spot-ups if the guard doesn’t score.

DIAGRAM 4: Play ‘2.’ This play is particularly effective when the offense wants to attack a post player with poor defensive skills.

4 and 5 break out high and wide toward the sideline hash marks. The point guard passes to either post player but, in the diagram, passes to 4. After the pass, 1 V-cuts before cutting toward the new weak-side elbow area and on toward the weak-side corner. 5, who did not receive the initial pass, scrapes off of 1’s screen and slash-cuts toward the new ball-side mid-post area, while 3 breaks to the weak-side elbow. 1 ends up in the weak-side deep corner.

These entries not only serve as quick-hitters that can accentuate an offensive player’s strengths or attack defensive weaknesses, but they also provide an easy transition into the desired continuity or motion-type offense that doesn’t provide opponents breathing room to maintain their defensive plans.

John Kimble coached basketball for 23 years in Illinois and Florida at the college and high school levels, accumulating more than 340 victories. He has authored five coaching books.