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Special Situations: Stack & Flat Options

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Using the Stack and Flat alignments for Baseline Out of Bounds scenarios can be a great way to put pressure on the defense.

In preparation for this article, I tweeted out a poll to see how many BLOB actions coaches use throughout the season. The vast majority of coaches appear to use at least 3-4, and almost a third use five or more. When I organize our actions for the season we are typically putting in our Odd, Even, and Zero Box Sets, along with one Stack or Flat option to use when needed. I especially like to use the Flat and Stack options when faced with a good zone BLOB defense. I have found that zone defenses that flood the strong side with defenders can give our Box Sets trouble, so to counter that we have used Stack and Flat Sets as a way to threaten the rim in a different manner. It probably goes without saying that there is an infinite number of actions you could run, but we are going to look at three simple options that we can break down.

Check out our other Special Situations Series Posts:

Stack Options -

Using a Stack Alignment is a great way to put pressure on a single area of the floor. In most Stack sets the offense is trying to concentrate the defense in a small area of the floor in an attempt to slip a player into an open portion of the court. In both of the Stack Actions we will break down we are trying to shift the defense in one direction while opening up a different area of the floor.

"Triple" -


The name "Triple" comes from the three-person stack that is formed on the ball side lane line. The 2 Man (or a Good Shooter) is positioned on the opposite elbow.

We are placing our best scorer as the 4 Man. Ultimately the goal is to get him a touch around the rim.

Initial Action:

The 4 Man initiates the action by either curling around the stacked players or making a back door cut to the rim.

We only want the player to back-door cut when he is being denied the curl. As the 4 Man curls to the rim:

  • The 1 releases to the Outlet position

  • The 5 Man Sets a Flare Screen for the 2 Man

  • The 5 Man Rolls to the Basketball


The majority of the time we will hit the player curling to the rim or hit the player coming off the flare screen to the corner. If those two options, and the roller, are not open then we are looking to outlet the ball back out towards the point and play from there.

"Two-Man Stack" -


The alignment for a Two-Man Stack action is to position the 4/5 Men at the Block while putting a shooter in the corner, and the point guard at the opposite elbow.

In theory we are trying to isolate the 4/5 men at the block.


The action is fairly simple with the 5 Man screening for the 4, and the 4 Man flashing to the ball.

This action can be especially effective versus zone defense.

Corner Entry:

On occasions where the defense crowds the stack, you can get an opportunity for a shot in the ball side corner. In most scenarios, though the entry into the corner is just a way to get the ball inbound safely.

  • The 1 Man always takes the Outlet Position in this Action.

Over Option:

As a way to switch things up, we may make an "Over" call from the bench. This call would ask the Corner Player to make the first cut over the stacked players. IF the defense does not react to this cut then we will get an easy layup. If they do react:

  • The 4 Pops to the Corner

  • The 5 Man Digs for a Post Up

  • Again the 1 Serves as our Outlet

Flat Option -

The Flat or 1-4 Low Alignment is a great way to spread the defense out. By spreading placing two players in the corners you are able to force the defense to commit defenders to the baseline. We see this as a great way to isolate one of our most athletic players in the middle third of the floor. With a simple lob pass at the elbow area, we can create a driving opportunity for our best scorer, and use back screens as a means to counter a defense that anticipates this.

"Flat" -


The alignment for "Flat Action" is to have four players spaced across the baseline.

  • Two Corners

  • Two Blocks


The main entry for the action was to look for a lob pass to our 4 Man. We want our most athletic player in this position to receive the pass.

"On the Catch" - we are asking our 5 Man to circle away to make room for a lane line drive.

Back Screen:

In order to mix up the action we might call out "Flat Again", or I'd say "Run Flat Again". This was an indicator to fake the lob pass and get a back screen & roll action with our two block players (4/5). The reads would be:

  • Look at the 4 first, the 5 Man rolling second

  • If no one is open the Ball Side Corner will be the Outlet

Corner Option:

If the defense is really leaning towards the lob player we might call out "Flat Strong". This would now ask the strong-side corner player to set the back screen and roll action. Similar to the "Flat Again" action the reads would be:

  • Look at the 4 first, the 2 Man rolling second

  • If no one is open the 4 man would become the outlet

Concluding Thoughts -

If the majority of coaches are going to run somewhere between 3-5 BLOBs during the course of the season it would make sense to have at least one Flat or Stack option among those. As we typically use a series of Box Sets as the base for our BLOB actions, I have found that using either a Flat or Stack Option in the second half has been a good way to counter our opponents' first-half adjustments. In each of these Flat and Stack actions we are trying to get an easy shot at the rim, and if nothing appears to safely inbound the basketball.

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