Basketball Flex Offense
Opening up Scoring Opportunities


This basketball flex offense is a very active offense, moving players constantly into different positions. It requires all players to play every position, so it will suit a team that doesn't conform to the standard roles very well. For me, this has been a useful play when I have had no real big man at center, when I have lacked presence up near the basketball rim.

This basketball flex offense is a great way to even up the odds lost by lack of height, since it allows all team members to pull out to a variety of positions and use whatever skills they may have (instead of forcing a player to play low even though he doesn't really have the skill set to do so). It also pulls the opponent's big men out, as they try to follow their defensive assignments, making the key less crowded and rebounding a bit easier.

It's a pretty basic play, but that's the kind of play I like. If it suits you, and you want to find out more about this type of strategy, I would suggest you check out Glenn Wilkes' Complete Book on Basketball's Flex Offense - it's probably the best known and most comprehensive review of this offensive strategy out there.


Basketball Flex Offense
Setup and First Options

Basketball Flex PlaySetup and 1st Options
  • Players set up as in the first diagram, with a two-guard front, two wings and man on the block on the same side as the ball

  • The play begins with a pass across the top to the opposite guard

  • At the same time as this pass is being made, the ball-side wing (#2) is going to run his man off the pick set by the post man (#4). #2 cuts across the key to the opposite post position


The guard that receives the pass (#3) has three passing options, which translate into three scoring opportunities:

  • pass to #2 as he comes across the key; #2 takes the ball strong to the hoop;
  • pass to #4 as he rolls out of the pick he has set for #2 - if #4's defensive man has been drawn away to pick up #2, then #4 should have #2's defensive man against him, outside the key - i.e., there should be a clear passing lane from the guard to #4, and #4 should have a relatively easy basket attempt;
  • pass to opposite wing (#5), if #5's man sags to help out with #2's cut; #5 takes the shot.

Basketball Flex Play2nd Movement and Options
  • Immediately after passing across the top of the key, the first guard (#1) cuts low to set a screen for the post man (#4); #4 cuts high

The guard with the ball (#3) now has two new passing options and scoring opportunities:

  • pass to #4 as he cuts to the high post; #4 squares and takes the shot, or drives the ball strong to the hoop through the middle;
  • pass to #1 as he rolls out of the pick he has set for #4 - if #1's defensive man has stepped up to pick up #4, then #1 should have #4's defensive man on his back, behind him - i.e., there should be a clear passing lane from the guard to #1, and #1 should have a good basket attempt.

Basketball Flex Offense
Reversing the Ball

If none of these passes work out, we reverse the ball and all our movement happens again on the other side of the key

Basketball Flex PlayReversing the Ball and New Options
  • #1 steps out wide to the wing

  • #4 steps quickly out to replace the guard position; #3 passes him the ball

  • #5 now cuts across the key off #2's screen

  • #4 can pass to #5 in the key; #2 as he rolls out of the pick; or #1 on the wing for the shot

Basketball Flex PlayMore Options on the Reverse Side
  • Immediately after passing across the top of the key, #3 cuts low to set a screen for the post man (#2); #2 cuts high

  • #4 can now pass to either #2 as he comes into the high post or #3 as he rolls out of the pick he has set for #2



Basketball Flex Offense
Reversing the Ball Again to Reset

And if none of that works out, we reverse the ball again:

Basketball Flex PlayReversing the Ball Again

#2 steps out to the guard position and receives the pass from #4; #3 flashes out to the wing; #1 begins the cut across the key off #5's screen


Like any offensive play, defense can catch on to the movements and adjust, but there are adaptations to the flex offense that will help counter that.

And that's the basic play. Like I said, it isn't complicated, but it can be effective if your players are moving quickly and watching for open teammates. Which is why I like this play - it is simple and it places a premium on team play and a solid focus on basic fundamentals like pick n rolls and back door cuts - something I feel every good play should do, especially if you are coaching at the youth level.

Like I've mentioned above, if the basketball flex offense is something you want to look into in more depth, if you want to know more options and how to use it in a variety of situations, take a look at Glenn Wilkes' Complete Book on Basketball's Flex Offense.


And Good Luck!




"If you make every game a life and death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot."

- Dean Smith





Is the Flex Offense your chosen offense?
Then check out Glenn Wilkes' authoritative ebook on
The Flex Offense

Flex Offense