Every team needs a basic offense, a really good basketball play that
is simple enough for all your players to remember - they're already
under lots of pressure on the court, so the less they need to remember,
the better. At the same time, that really simple play will also have to
create lots of movement that gets the defense out of position so your
players can score.
The Swing works well against a zone
defense. It is not difficult for players to learn - always a good thing
in my books - and is very effective at creating holes in the zone while
at the same time providing shooting opportunities for your shooters. I
rarely use more than two plays at a time with my teams, but if I have
any shooters, the Swing will be one of those plays.
One thing to note: as with any offensive play that you run, it's efficiency will depend a great amount on how quickly and efficiently you move the ball. Have your players pass quickly and with purpose, and have your players move to position with speed.
How This Play Works
- Players set up as indicated in the diagram - point guard, two wings,
one small forward setting up outside the key near the baseline, and one
post man on the high post.
- The play begins with a pass from the point guard to one of the wings.
- If the point guard passes to the wing on the same side as the
small forward (#4), then #4 simply flashes out a few steps on that side
looking for a pass.
|Basic Offense - 1
- As well, the high post (#5) would step to the elbow on that side, looking for a pass.
- If the ball is passed to the opposite wing, #4 then flashes
along the baseline to the opposite side, looking for the pass along the
way. If the zone is decent and has no holes yet, it is most likely that
#4 will be pushed out to the 3 point line before he becomes open for a
- At the same time, the high post (#5) flashes to the ball-side elbow.
- #2 passes to either #5 or #4.
- If the ball goes to #5, #3 drops toward the basket on the weak
side and #4 moves in as well, giving #5 the opportunity to either shoot,
drive or pass, depending on how the zone reacts.
- It is more likely that the defense will deny the high post the ball, and the pass will go to #4 at the baseline.
- Immediately after passing to #4, #2 cuts hard through the key looking for the ball and the drive.
|Basic Offense - 2
With the ball in #4's hands, three things happen:
- #1 moves over to act as a safety
- #5 cuts down the key to the low post, looking for a pass and an opportunity to drive or post up
- #3 on the weak side wing cuts hard across the foul line, to take up the high post position that #5 has just vacated
|Basic Offense - 3
- #4 has a shot (always place your best shooter in this position)
- #5 can drive or post if #4 can get the ball to him
- #3 may have a little jumper from the elbow if the defense follows #5 and #4 can get the pass to him
If none of these scoring options pan out, players move to swing the ball to the opposite side
- #4 passes the ball out to #1
- #5 follows the ball up the key to the high post
- #3 flashes into the point guard position
- #2 flashes out to the wing
|Basic Offense - 4
- The ball is swung to the opposite side
- #4 and #5 flash across to set up on ball side
|Basic Offense - 5
- As on the other side, the wing - #2 - has the option to pass to #5 if he is open
If the ball goes to #5,
- #1 drops down deep into the weak side,
- #4 moves in closer to give #5 passing targets
- #5 can shoot, drive or pass
If the ball doesn't go to #5, it is passed to #4 at the three point line
- Immediately after passing to #4, #2 cuts through the key looking for a pass and a drive
|Basic Offense - 6
Again, three movements happen:
- #3 slides across the top to act as safety
- #5 flashes down the key looking for a pass and drive or post up
- #1 cuts to the elbow that #5 has just vacated, looking for a pass and a shot
- As well, #4 again has the option to shoot
|Basic Offense - 7
If no scoring opportunity presents itself, everyone moves back into position to swing the ball back to the other side
- #1 moves back into the point guard position
- #2 moves out to the wing
- #4 passes the ball out to #3, who passes it out to #1 at the point
- #5 follows the ball up to the high post
|Basic Offense - 8
The team is now reset in its original positions and runs the play again until a scoring opportunity arises
Like any offense, it is important here to be patient - run the
play through, keeping a sharp eye out for opportunities to score, but if
they don't arise on the first run through, you run the play again until
something opens up.
I'm not a fan of complex basketball plays - basic offenses always
seem to work out easier. That's why I like this one. It is an easy play
to run, and is effective against a zone - with all the movement
happening inside, zone assignments get tangled up and if offensive
players move quick enough, someone will pop open in good scoring
It is an especially good play to use if you have a good shooter or
two. Put your best shooter in the small forward position at the
baseline, your best cutter / driver at the wing, be patient and this offense will work well.