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Basketball Concepts (Latest Update: Containing Dwight Howard)

The purpose of this thread is to explain basketball concepts, plays, formations, etc. in an easily understandable way that will hopefully lead to people enjoying the game on a deeper level. All the b-ball nuts here are welcome to contribute. If you want anything explained, please let me know and I'll be happy to do so to the best of my abilities.

9/29/09: Blue the Screen
9/30/09: Switching the Pick & Roll
9/30/09: How Dwight Howard is used in Orlando's Offense
10/2/09: Containing Dwight Howard

Today's Concept: Blue the Screen

To "Blue the Screen" is to defend the pick and roll in a certain manner. Basically, what it does is prevent the ball handler from using the screen by overplaying in the direction of the player who is setting the screen, making it very difficult to run the pick and roll. But it can be beaten with the right technique. At 2:13 of this video, you see an example of the Denver Nuggets "bluing" a screen. (this video is a good lesson in pick & roll defense in general, btw)


What does it mean to "Blue" the Screen?


At 2:13, Chauncey Billups is "laying" on the screener, (overplaying in that direction) because he's recognized where it's coming from, and George Karl is a coach that really likes to do this. This requires the big man that's helping out to not necessarily guard the ball-handler, but to contain him long enough to prevent penetration and ruin the pick and roll. This is an effective concept for the Nuggets because their big men (Nene, Martin, Anderson) are MUCH quicker than most teams, so they're able to contain a PG or SG longer than most teams can. Nene does this very well at the 2:13 mark

If a team can effectively blue a screen, the only option that's available for the offense is a contested jump shot or trying something else when there's 12 seconds or less on the shot clock. Either option is a victory for the defense.

How do you attack a team that's bluing the screen?

There are a couple of different ways:

Crossover and split (Selling the baseline)

Your guard should always be quicker than the big that's guarding him, even if it's a quick big like Nene. The "Crossover & split" concept is to pretend like the guard trying to go baseline and around the big man that's guarding him. Once he gets the big man going in that direction, he goes back toward the middle, effectively "splitting" the double team. This creates a 4-on-3 situation that works in the offenses' favor, and it's in the middle of the floor, giving the offensive player a lot of options. Controlling the middle is a huge advantage.

The defender isn't bluing the screen in this video, nor does the ball handler sell to the baseline but it's a cool explanation by Manu and the concept is pretty much the same. I think you can probably picture this in the blued screen scenario.

Back up!!!

A blued screen is somewhat of a double team. You're overplaying the ball-handler with the big man, but the guard is still on him as well. If the ball-handler backs up a bit, he draws the attention of both defenders. If the man who's setting the screen can get in the position to catch a pass, it sets the offense up for a 4-on-3 scenario.

Here's an example @ 7:20 (Kobe's the best in the league at this by far, btw)

There are a couple of other options, but I think that's good for now. Here's a solid article by an assistant coach from the Nets if you want to get into more of the meat & potatoes.

New Jersey Nets coach explains overall pick and roll concepts
[ Edited by LA9erFan on Oct 2, 2009 at 10:37 PM ]
  • crzy
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 39,280
Did you ever do any basketball coaching on any level Pete?
Originally posted by crzy:
Did you ever do any basketball coaching on any level Pete?

Good question. Another would be why the hell shouldn't he?
  • crzy
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 39,280
Anyways, I knew the basics of hedging on screens but I've never heard of that terminology "bluing a screen".
Originally posted by crzy:
Did you ever do any basketball coaching on any level Pete?

No, not in any official capacity. I worked with a few of my buddies on the basketball team in HS, but that's about it. It's just a hobby of mine, but it's one that I'd like to pursue in the youth & HS ranks over the next few years.
Originally posted by crzy:
Anyways, I knew the basics of hedging on screens but I've never heard of that terminology "bluing a screen".

Hedging a screen is slightly different than "bluing" a screen. A hedge is when the big man overplays, and a blue is when a guard overplays.

The Manu video is a hedge, whereas the first clip w/Billups is a blue.
  • crzy
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 39,280
Pete, I think you should break down how the Lakers defended Dwight Howard in the NBA Finals.
Originally posted by crzy:
Pete, I think you should break down how the Lakers defended Dwight Howard in the NBA Finals.

Very cool idea. I'll do that tomorrow night.
  • jrg
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 110,873
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by crzy:
Pete, I think you should break down how the Lakers defended Dwight Howard in the NBA Finals.

Very cool idea. I'll do that tomorrow night.

  • crzy
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 39,280
One thing about small ball, ignoring it's obvious flaws for a moment, is that if you have 5 athletic guys....you can switch on every pick and roll. You need big guards and quick big men to pull it off.

The Warriors have had some success with this in the past while playing Al Harrington at center, Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes at forward, and Jason Richardson and Baron Davis at guard.
[ Edited by crzy on Sep 29, 2009 at 11:56 PM ]
Originally posted by crzy:
One thing about small ball, ignoring it's obvious flaws for a moment, is that if you have 5 athletic guys....you can switch on every pick and roll. You need big guards and quick big men to pull it off.

The Warriors have had some success with this in the past while playing Al Harrington at center, Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes at forward, and Jason Richardson and Baron Davis at guard.

Can you find a video of the Warriors doing this and explain why it's helpful to be able to switch the pick and roll? And could you put it in Reply #9? I'm putting links to all the useful posts in the OP.
Originally posted by pantstickle:

LOL. That's exactly what I'm NOT going for. I don't want it come across as terribly complicated stuff.
Originally posted by pantstickle:
Originally posted by LA9erFan:
Originally posted by pantstickle:

LOL. That's exactly what I'm NOT going for. I don't want it come across as terribly complicated stuff.

I keed! I keed! It's really interesting stuff (but only because you included a video of Manu ).