Better Know a Pitino Play: Double Screen Action


ED NOTE: Bumping because pretty pictures (and nice breakdown)

Rich Pitino's offense is heavily influenced by Billy Donovan's Florida ball screen offense. Today, I want to break down one set that the Gophers will likely use on a regular basis: the double screen for the wing from a 4 out 1 low set. This play can be seen at full speed during the FIU-UALR game on WatchESPN starting at the 15:46 mark in the first half. The goal of the double baseline screen is to make two options available. The first option is an open three by the 2 and the second is to set up a post-entry on the block.

Here is the beginning of the play. The point guard will enter the ball and move towards the eventual location of the shooter. Here that shooter is Malik Smith, FIU's 3pt threat. He V-cuts to the three-point line to change the location of his defender and allow his screener to make his way from the opposite side of the court.


Smith runs off the first screen, attempting to rub shoulders with his screener to seal his defender. UALR poorly communicates on the screen and decides to not switch defenders. At the same time as the first screen is set, FIU's #3 moves into position on the low block to set up the second screen. Lastly, #10 is beginning to make a cut towards the middle of the lane to take his defender away from the wing.


Smith now runs around the second screen (his positioning should be closer to the screener) as #10 continues his cut to the opposite low block. The decision to not switch on the first screen has left Smith's defender completely out of position and several steps behind him. The original screener now cuts to the right elbow to provide another passing option if for some reason Smith can't get open.


Smith catches and releases about a second before his defender can contest. I've circled the second screener to show the second option in the event that UALR's defense was better. He has sealed his man and is ready for a post entry from the wing. The other FIU players have maintained proper spacing. In the event that the ball is passed into the post, there is no obvious player for the defense to leave to provide help against the post.


When the Gophers run this play, expect the two options to be Eliason and Hollins. Hollins showed throughout this season that he has the ability to get open off screens and shoot a jump shot quickly. Since BIG 10 teams are better defensively, it is unlikely that this screen action will consistently free up Hollins for a 3, but should more often than not provide a mismatch on the block for Eliason if there is a switch. Assuming that he can improve his post moves over the off-season, he will have the opportunity to score a lot of points off this play. Eliason is also a skilled enough passer that he should be able to find the open man if help comes from the perimeter.

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