When it comes to coaching, picking and choosing the basketball plays that you’re going to run helps your team get good looks to score the ball. Whether it’s the beginning of the season and you’re looking for the set plays that you want to be a staple of your team, or you’re in the middle of your year and you’re looking for new stuff to run, plays are an important.

When you’re deciding upon the plays that you want to run with your basketball team, think about who the best players are on your squad. Do they score the ball better from the perimeter? Are they better in catch-and-shoot situations, or do they thrive in attacking situations? When deciding upon the plays you want to run, it’s vital that you get the ball to players in places that they’re comfortable scoring from. Otherwise, you can run the best plays in the world, but if they’re not suited to your players’ strengths, they’re not worth much.

While we’re strong proponents of the motion offense, there are obviously times where you need to set something up and run a play. These situations include:

  • Going through a scoring drought
  • End of a quarter
  • End of a game
  • Out of a timeout
  • The opponent struggles to guard certain actions
  • Trying to get a player in a rhythm

When your team is able to execute your plays, it makes it easier on you, as the coach, because you have confidence that your team won’t go on long scoring droughts.

Want these plays in a PDF?: These 33 basketball plays can be downloaded in a PDF for you to always have.(Download The Plays Now!)

Man to Man Basketball Plays

1-4 High Backdoor Rub

1-4 High Backdoor-1

This play starts in a 1-4 high set with the bigs on the elbows and the guards on the wings.
The play starts with the 1 throwing to the 5 on the elbow.

When the 5 catches it, the 2 will go underneath to clear to the other side.
As that’s happening, the 3 fakes a handoff with the 5 and then cuts hard off of the 4 to the basket for a layup.

Blind Pig Backdoor

Backdoor - Blind Pig 1

This play starts with the 1 & the 2 starting high on the perimeter. The 4 and 5 start on the blocks, and the 3 starts in the opposite corner of the ball.

Backdoor - Blind Pig 2

The 3 comes off of double baseline screens from the 4 and the 5.

Backdoor -Blind Pig 3

As soon as the 3 comes off of the screen from the 4, the 4 flashes to the high post and receives a pass from the 1.

Backdoor - Blind Pig 4

On the 4’s catch, the 2 immediately backdoors and receives a pass from the 4 for the layup.

Elbow – Stagger – Stagger

basketball play

Play starts in a horns set with the 4 and 5 at the elbows and 2 and 3 in the corners.

basketball play

3 starts lifting up and 1 hits the 5. 3 immediately cuts backdoor to the block on the catch.
4 sets a flair screen for 1.

basketball play

As 1 catches the ball, 2 cuts to the other side of the floor and comes off of 3 screens for an open look at the top of the key.

basketball play

The 4 and the 5 then go set a stagger screen for the 3 to pop up to the right wing for an open look.

Box – Zipper Iso

zipper iso 1

This play starts in a box. The player they want to iso starts on the left block.

zipper iso 22

The play starts with the 1 dribbling left. The 4 cuts between the 2 and the 5 to the ball-side corner.

The 5 then sets a screen and the 2 zipper cuts to the top of the key. The 2 receives a pass from the 1 and has an iso going right.
If the 3’s man helps on the iso, the 2 will kick to the corner for a 3.

Stagger – Lob

stagger-lob 1

The play starts with the 5 and the 3 in the slots, the 4 on the right block, and the 2 in the right corner.

stagger lob 2

The 1 comes off of a double screen from the 5 and the 3. The 2 lifts up and receives a pass from the 1.

Stagger-lob 3

The 5 and the 4 come up and set double backscreens for a lob for the 3.

Ball Screen – Stagger Away

Ball Screen - Stagger 1

This play starts in a 1-4 high set with the bigs on the elbows and guards on the wings.

ball screen - stagger 2

The action starts with the 1 passing to the 2 and cutting to the ball-side corner. As that happens, the 5 cuts to the block, and the 4 to the top of the key for reversal.

Ball Screen - Stagger 3

The 2 passes to the 1 in the corner, and then receives a backscreen from the 5 and continues cutting through to the opposite side.

Ball Screen - Stagger 4

5 then sets a ball screen for the 1, who looks to attack off of the screen.
While that action is happening, the 3 and the 4 set a staggered double for the 2.

Point Guard Stagger

PG Stagger 1

This play starts in a 1-4 high set with the bigs on the elbows and guards on the wings.

PG Stagger 2

The action starts with the 1 passing to the 2 and cutting to the ball-side corner. As that happens, the 5 cuts to the block, and the 4 to the top of the key for reversal.

PG Stagger 3

The 2 reverses the ball to the 4, and then the 5 sets a backscreen for the 2.

PG Stagger 4

The 4 reverses the ball to the 3 and then sets a staggered double for the 1.

Double Staggers

Double STagger 1

This offense starts in a 1-4 High set with the bigs on the elbows and the guards on the wings.

Double STagger 2

The 1 executes a dribble handoff with the wing. The wing takes the dribble hand-off and passes to the guard on the opposite wing.

Double STagger 3

The 2 cuts through opposite after passing the ball to the 3.
The 5 and 4 then turn and set a staggered screen for the 1 to come through.

Double STagger 4

The 1 continues his cut down to the block and then to the corner.
The 2 continues through off of the staggered screen from the 4 and the 5.
The 4 and the 5 then read the defense and roll back to the ball if the 1 or 2 isn’t open for a shot.

Side Elevator – Curl

Side Elevator 1

Start in a box set with the guards on the right side and the bigs on the left.

Side Elevator 2

2 down screens for 3 and 3 pops out the the wing.

Side Elevator 3

2 then comes through on an elevator screen from the 4 and 5 and the 1 looks to hit the 2 for an open 3-pointer.

Side Elevator 4

4 then downscreens for 5 who comes off on a curl and then 4 posts on the block.

Backscreen – Stagger

Backscreen-Stagger 1

This play starts with the 1 & 2 high, the 3 on the right wing, the 4 on the other wing, and the 5 at the free throw line.

Backscreen-Stagger 2

The action starts with the 3 walking his man in and popping out and the 1 passes him the ball.

Backscreen-Stagger 3

The 2 will sprint off of the 5’s screen to the opposite block, followed by the 1 doing the same thing.
The 4 will cut to the top of the key.

Backscreen-Stagger 4

The 1 will pop to the left wing and the ball will get reversed to him.

Backscreen-Stagger 5

The 2 will set a backscreen for the 3, who will cut to the opposite block.

Backscreen-Stagger 6

The 5 and the 4 will set a staggered screen for the 2 and the 1 will pass him the ball.

Diagonal – Downscreen – Ball screen.

Diagonal - 1

This play starts in a 1-4 high alignment with the guards on the wings and the bigs on the elbows. The one dribbles to the wing and the 2 goes to the block and then executes a diagonal screen for the 4.

Diagonal - 2

The 5 then sets a down screen for the 2 after he set the diagonal screen and the 2 pops to the top of the key.

Diagonal - 3

The 2 receives the pass from the 1, then the 5 turns and sets a ball screen for the 2. The 3 flattens out to the corner to create space and the 5 pops. You could also execute a roll-and-replace with the 5 and the 4.

Cross Screen – Downscreen

CrossScreen-Downscreen 1

This play starts in a 1-4 high set, with the bigs on the elbows and the guards on the wing.

CrossScreen-Downscreen 2

The 1 dribbles the 2 through to the opposite block. The 5 cuts down to the block, and the 4 pops to the top of the key.

CrossScreen-Downscreen 3

The 1 will start to reverse the ball by swinging it to the big at the top of the key.
While that is taking place, the 2 & the 3 are interchanging on the weak side.

CrossScreen-Downscreen 4

The 4 will reverse the ball to the 2.
As the ball is being reversed, the 3 goes and sets a cross screen for the 5 on the block. The 5 receives the screen and and the 2 will look to throw the ball into the 5 if he’s open for a layup.

CrossScreen-Downscreen 5

After the 3 sets the cross screen, the 4 goes and sets a screen for the 3 to the top of the key.
The 2 passes to the 3, and if he has a shot, he should shoot it. Otherwise, you are back in your original alignment and can run the play over.

DHO – Backdoor

DHO - Backdoor 1

Play starts in a 2-2-1 set. The player you want to receive the backdoor starts on the left wing, in this case it’s the 4.

DHO - Backdoor 2

The 1 passes to the 2 and cuts behind the 5.

DHO - Backdoor 3

The 3 comes off of a stagger and receives a dribble handoff from the 2.

DHO - Backdoor 4

The 3 comes off of the dribble handoff and attacks the middle. The 4 fakes like he’s going to receive another dribble handoff from 3, then cuts backdoor.

Horns – Backscreen – Downscreen

Horns - Backscreen - Downscreen 1

Play starts in a horns set with shooters in the corners and bigs in the slots. The player playing point guard here should be your best shooter.

Horns - Backscreen - Downscreen 2

The 1 enters the ball to the 4, then cuts hard off of a backscreen from the 5. The 4 should hit him if he’s open.

Horns - Backscreen - Downscreen 3

If the backscreen isn’t there, the 5 immediately turns and sets a downscreen for the 1 to come back up to the wing. After the 5 sets the downscreen, he slips to the rim.

Horns – Rub

Horns - Rub 1

Play starts in a horns set with shooters in the corners and 4 & 5 in the slots.

Horns - Rub 2

The ball is entered to the 4.

Horns - Rub 3

The 1 cuts and sets a rub cut for the 5 to come off of and looks for a pass from the 4.

Horns – Back Stagger

Horns - Back Stagger 1

Play starts in a horns set with the 4 and 5 in the slots and the 2 and 3 in the corners.

Horns - Back Stagger 2

1 passes the ball to the 5, then cuts down the middle of the lane and exits to the weak side.
3 cuts across the floor to the weak side block.

Horns - Back Stagger 3

The 2 continues his cut and receives a dribble handoff from 5.
4 comes off of a double backscreen from 1 and 3 and looks for the ball on the block from 2.

Backscreen – Stagger Return

Backscreen Stagger Return 1

Play starts in a 1-4 high set.

Backscreen Stagger Return 2

1 throws the ball to the 5 in the slot, then receives a backscreen from the 4 to the opposite block.

Backscreen Stagger Return 3

The 4 and the 2 then go set a stagger screen for the 1 to pop to the wing.

Zone Basketball Plays

Ballscreen Overload

Ballscreen Overload 1

This play is against a 2-3 zone. The action starts with the 1 throwing to the 2 to get the defense to shift.

Ballscreen Overload 2

As the 2 starts to throw it back to the 1, the 5 should come over and set a screen out the outside top defender (x2).

Ballscreen Overload 3

The 1 dribbles off of the screen from the 5.
The 4 cuts to the ball-side block.
The 2 cuts inside to the wing and the 3 stays in the corner.
The 1 has a lot of options. He can drive, he can stop and pop, he can hit the 3 in the corner, he can hit the 4 on the block. He has to read what the defense gives him.

Block Stack Overload

Block Stack Overload 1

This play is against a 2-3 zone. The 2 and 3 start on the wings and the 4 and 5 start on the block stacked.

Block Stack Overload 2

The action starts with the 1 passing to the 2 and the 2 passing it right back to get the defense to shift.

Block Stack Overload 3

The 4 will seal the big man in the middle as the 2 will come all the way around to the opposite corner. The 1 will throw to the 3.

Block Stack Overload 4

As soon as the 2 comes around the 4, the 4 should go seal and the 5 should look for a pass from the 3.

Ballscreen Seal

Ballscreen Seal 1

The play starts with the 1 on the left wing, the 2 on the right wing, the 3 in the weak-side corner, the 4 on the weak-side block, and the 5 at the foul line.

Ballscreen Seal 2

The 5 comes to set a ball screen on x1 and the 1 uses it to attack the middle of the floor and forces x2 to at least acknowledge him and 1 passes to 2.

Ballscreen Seal 3

As 2 catches it, x3 must get closer to the 3 (this should be a great shooter). The 4 will go seal x5 and the 5 will roll off of the ball screen he set to the opposite block for a layup.

Zone Cross

Zone Cross 1

Play starts with bigs on the blocks and guards on the wings.

Zone Cross 2

1 hits 2 and cuts in between the wing and corner. 2 Dribbles up.

Zone Cross 3

2 dribbles up to keep x2 engaged, then passes to the 1.

Zone Cross 4

On the pass to the 1, the 5 is screening/sealing x5 and 4 is coming underneath for the catch.

Stack Pop

Stack Pop 1

The play starts with the 3 on the wing, the 4 on the block, and 5 and 2 stacked on the other block.

Stack Pop 2

1 hits the 3 and then cuts to the opposite wing. the 3 dribbles to the top of the key.

Stack Pop 3

As the 3 is dribbling over, the 2 pops to the corner. The ball is swung around to the 2 in the corner.

Stack Pop 4

As the ball is being swung from the 1 to the 2, the 5 goes and screens/seals x5 and 4 goes underneath for a pass from 2.

Zone X

Zone X 1

Play starts with the 5 on the block, the 4 in the corner, and the 2 and 3 on the wings.

Zone X 2

The 2 and the 3 cross and screen the inside of the top two defenders.
1 attacks the middle. As he’s attacking, the 5 seals x4 and the 4 goes underneath that seal to the ballside block for a layup.

Corner 3

Corner 3 1

This play starts with shooters on the wings and bigs on the blocks. The play is initiated with the 1 throwing to the 2 on the wing and the 5 popping to the corner.

Corner 3 2

The 2 throws the ball to the 5 and then cuts to the ball-side block. The 1 fills to the 2’s spot on the wing.

Corner 3 3

The 5 throws the ball to the 1 on the wing and then pins down to screen the outside man of the zone. The 2 pops to the corner for a shot.

Basketball Plays – Baseline Out of Bounds

Doubles

Doubles 1

This play starts with the bigs in a stack at the ball-side elbow, and the best shooter on the opposite block, with another guard on the opposite elbow.

Doubles 2

The action starts as the two screens up for the 1 looking for an easy layup.

Doubles 3

The 4 and the 5 then set a double screen for the 2 looking for an open shot from the wing.

Doubles 4

The 4 then screens up for the 5.

Backdoor Layup

Backdoor layup 1

This play starts with a big on the ball-side block, a guard on the opposite block, and a ball-handler on the ball-side elbow in a box formation.

Backdoor layup 2

The action starts as the 2 makes a rub cut off of the 5 to the corner and receives the ball.

Backdoor layup 3

The 1 pops out to the wing and receives the ball. As that’s happening, the 5 starts to back up from the block.

Backdoor layup 4

The 2 and the 5 set a staggered screen for the 4 to the corner as a decoy action.
The 1 takes a hard dribble toward the 3 as he pops out calling for the ball, and then hits him on a back-cut to the basket.

Triangle Screen the Screener

Triangle STS 1

This play starts with the two bigs on the blocks, the 3 in the middle and the 2 on the ball-side elbow.

Triangle STS 2

The 2 cuts to the ball-side corner. The 5 sets a screen for the 3. The 3 cuts to the block and if he doesn’t have a layup, shoots to the corner.

Triangle STS 3

As soon as that screen happens, the 4 screens for the 5, then rolls back to the opposite block.
The 2 and the 3 may have to be a release valve if you can’t get it in.

Fake DHO – Iso

Fake DHO - Iso 1

This play starts in a box alignment.

Fake DHO - Iso 2

The 3 pops to the corner and receives a pass. The 5 goes up to the elbow with the 4.

Fake DHO - Iso 3

The 2 comes off of a double-screen flair from the 4 and the 5.
1 comes off of a fake handoff from the 3, and then the 3 takes it to the basket.

Flex Action

BLOB Flex 1

This play starts with 4 flat across the baseline.

BLOB Flex 2

The 4 pops and receives a pass from the 1.

BLOB Flex 3

The 3 pops and receives a pass from the 4 as the 1 steps in to the block.

BLOB Flex 4

The 1 will set a back screen for the 5, and then receive a downscreen from the 4.

BLOB Flex 5

The 3 passes to the 1, and then the 4 will come set a ball screen for the 1.

Curl Lob

This baseline out of bounds play starts with a stack on the ball-side block with the two bigs in the first two spots, the 2 in the 3rd spot, and the 3 on the opposite block.

Curl Lob 2

The action starts as the 5 downscreens for the 4 and the 4 curls around to the opposite block. The 3 goes to the top of the key as a release.

Curl Lob 3

After the 4 curls around the 5, the 2 goes and sets a downscreen for the 5 and the 5 curls around looking for a lob at the rim.
As soon as the 5 curls around off of the 2’s screen, the 2 cuts out to the corner.
The 1 then has options of who to throw it to.

Elbow Iso

Elbow Iso 1

This play starts with whoever you want to isolate on the ball-side corner in a 1-4 flat alignment.

Elbow Iso 2

The action starts with the 4 sprinting to the elbow and the 5 cutting out to the corner and receiving a pass.

Elbow Iso 3

The 3 cuts to the ball-side block, and the 5 throws it to the 4 on the elbow.

Elbow Iso 4

The 4 then has an opportunity to isolate his man and attack the rim from the elbow. If 2’s man helps, he can kick to the corner for an open 3.

Zone Baseline Overload

Baseline Overload 1

This is an out of bounds play against a 2-3 zone.
The 2 starts on the opposite block. The 4 and 5 start on the ball side block and the 3 starts on the ball-side elbow.

Baseline Overload 2

When the play starts, the 2 goes through a double-screen from the 4 and 5 and goes to the ball-side corner to occupy x3.

Baseline Overload 3

The 4 will then seal x5 in the paint and 5 will be open underneath.
The 1 has to read the defense. If x3 comes to take away 5, then 2 should be open in the corner.

Zone Triangle

Zone Triangle 1

This play starts in a triangle formation with the bigs on the blocks and your best shooter in the lane.

Zone Triangle 2

The 2 sprints to the corner to take x4 with him. The 4 screens/seals x5 and the 5 cuts right behind 2 to the ball-side block. The 3 goes to the ball-side wing.

Zone Triangle 3

This should create an opportunity for the 5 at the block.

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