Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Using curl cuts in your offense is a great way to put pressure on the rim without the use of the dribble.
The use of ball screens and dribble drive attacks seem to be the preferred tactics when coaches are designing ways to attack the rim these days. However, tried and true methods like off the ball curl cuts remain a great option to accomplish this task without having to rely on the use of dribble drives. At all levels you can find the use of down screens, flare screens or staggered screens in trying to find creative ways to get to the basket.
Incorporating Curl Cuts into your Offense not only give you chances to score at the rim, but also help with a number of other issues as well. For Example:
A Talented Player Being Denied
A Way to Combat Aggressive Switching
Helping Players with "Lesser Ball Skills"
Curl Cuts can be something that is predetermined or it can be an option within your offense. Flex Cuts, or Short Curls in a Staggered Screen (ex. Davidson) are both examples of predetermined curl cuts.
Read the Cut
In the videos below we employed curls as an option that players could read. Over the years we have used both the single down screen and the staggered screen to allow the curl cut to occur.
Whether a single down screen or the staggered screen is being employed the teaching point remains the same:
If the Defender Trails, you Curl.
Single Down Screens -
Let's take a look at three different ways for players to Score off of the Single Down Curl.
The Cutter Scores
2. Cutter Curls & Makes Drop Pass
3. Cutters Curls & the Screener Second Cuts
Staggered Down Screens -
This past season we employed the use of staggered screen as part of our Motion Strong action. The curl cut was simply an option that the cutter could take if the defense trailed and there was no aggressive switch.
Back Door Cuts
In a lot of ways the back door cut is similar to the curl. Both of these cuts put pressure on the defense by attacking the rim.
From a teaching perspective we are telling players to cut to the rim when they sense:
A Trailing Defender
An Aggressive Switch Out
There are lots of reasons why a team might choose to lean on curl cuts as opposed to dribble drives or ball screens to attack the rim. Whether it is personnel based, or perhaps scheme based (ex. a more athletic opponent) using curls can be a great way to get pressure on the rim.
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My Notes from the Coaches Clinic Series:
@RadiusAthletics does great detailed breakdowns of Down Screens & Curl Options.
Randy Sherman | Screening & Cutting P1 - https://bit.ly/2UyQ1nG
Randy Sherman | Screening & Cutting P2 - https://bit.ly/2RL4xIz