Updated: Oct 29, 2021
The Box Alignment provides coaches with endless options to put pressure on the defense in Baseline Out of Bounds scenarios.
The Box Formation is one of the most popular alignments for Baseline Out of Bounds sets across the game. Like the majority of coaches who answered my poll question, I have used the Box Formation as the basis for our Baseline Out of Bounds actions more than any other. One of the reasons I have done this is the benefit of being able to run multiple concepts without giving away what will be run by alignment. Whether our best scorers have been post players, shooters, or slashers there are easy ways to flow into actions that emphasize their games out of the box formation.
One of the more interesting concepts that I have discovered is the use of an Odd, Even, & Zero system of play calling. In this system, we let the time clock determine which play we will run, adding an element of disguise and taking the burden of play-calling out of my hands. On occasion, I may call a specific action, especially late in the game, but over the last four seasons, we have used this concept fairly consistently.
As you will see below I named the sets to reflect when they would be run in the game. From a strategic standpoint, each of these plays was designed to emphasize the strength of our personnel. In this post, we will break down the reads and options in four Box Sets that we have used over the years.
Box Series, "Even" -
This is a classic Baseline Out of Bounds concept that works well versus Man or Zone Defenses. In theory, we are trying to get our best Post Player and Best Shooter involved in a two-man action. This action can give a good shooter a clean look at the rim, but the combination of a good post player and the shooter makes this action becomes very difficult to guard.
The action starts with the 5 man popping to the corner and receiving the entry pass.
As this happens:
- 1 Moves to the Outlet
- 2 Walks to the Block
Swing & Floor Balance:
Once the ball is entered we want the ball swung to the outlet man. On the backside we want the 3 and 4 to balance the floor by filling out the slot of backside corner.
Corner Pin Down:
The key scoring opportunity in the action is the pin down from the corner by the 5 Man. The 2 Man is coming off of the Pin Down looking for a shot/drive opportunity. If that opportunity does not present itself then looking inside to the post is the next option.
Swing & Play:
If there is no shot/drive opportunity for the shooter, and no way to enter the ball into the post then we should look to swing the basketball to the backside and play ball.
Box Series, "Odd" -
Similar to the previous action Odd was designed to be used versus Man or Zone Defense. We are essentially trying to get similar options as we did in Even: a Shot for a Shooter or a Post Up for our Big Man. As a way to keep some simplicity we have our 1,3, & 4 all conducting the same actions off the ball. From a spacing perspective if we don't get a shot out of our initial action we want to flow right into four-out offense.
Flare Screen & Roll:
In this scenario the 5 Man is starting the action by Flare Screening for the 2. After setting the Flare Screen we are asking our 5 Man to roll immediately back to the basketball.
- Corner Shot/Drive
- Dive from 5 Man
On most occasions, the ball is entered the 2 Man cutting to the Corner. If he has no shot we are encouraging him to check the post before swinging the basketball.
Swing & Play:
Similar to what we are doing with Even, if nothing emerges on the ball side we are simply swinging the ball to the backside and playing.
Box Series, "Zero" -
Naturally the Zero call is going to come far less often than Even or Odd, so I wanted to make this action one that involved the backside players. This action was chosen to emphasize the skills of our 4 Man, who is typically one of our more skilled players. In Zero we are trying to steal a cheap basket and then get a clean look at a three point shot for one of our better shooters.
The play is initiated by the 4 Man, who is setting a backscreen for the 1. The inbounder should be looking for this action right away.
After setting the back screen the 4 Man is running through a Gate Screen to the ball side corner. Once the 4 Man cuts through them they are "closing the gate" by stepping towards one another.
Swing & Play:
If there is no shot or post entry then we are simply looking to swing the basketball to the backside and play.
Bonus Box Series, "Baseline Pin" -
Each year we play a number of teams on our schedule twice, so for those occasions we will add a new action to the Even, Odd, & Zero system. One alternative action that we have used in the past is a Baseline Pin Screen for our 4 Man. Within this action we are hoping to create a catch & shoot opportunity, a Post Entry option, or a double gap that we can exploit off the dribble.
Baseline Pin -
Similar to Even we are going to enter the ball to our 5 Man in the ball side corner.
In much the same way we did with Even we are going to dive our 2 Man and send our 1 Man to the Outlet position.
Once the ball is inbounded we are conducting a DHO with the inbounder and the 5 Man. One teaching point for this action is to make sure to catch the inbound pass inside the three-point line.
The 3 Man will dribble towards the slot as the 2 and 5 set a staggered screen for the shooter. Clearly, the first look in this action is to get the shooter a catch & shoot opportunity.
Post or Double Gap Drive:
If there is no shot for 4 he is looking to either enter the ball to the post or drive the double gap that is created by 3's spacing.
Concluding Thoughts -
Whether you use the Box Alignment for you Baseline Out of Bounds sets or not I really liked the idea of masking the use of different concepts by starting in the same alignment. We used these specific Box Sets because we had a dominant 5 Man and good shooters at the 2 and 4 positions. The Odd, Even, & Zero sets we broke down in this post all provided opportunities for open threes and post-ups. As our personnel has shifted over the last four years we have made some adjustments to the actions that we have employed.
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