Base Cross Offense

What to Discover or Recall . . .

Posting up is a big part of the game of basketball. It is truly an advantage to have a dominant force inside.
However, post ups are not limited to just big men, look for all teams to exploit size mismatches at any position.
Teams will commonly deploy the tactic of a small player setting a screen for a big player to create mismatches such is the case with the Base Cross offense.
The Base Cross Offense has been proven to be a highly successful on all levels of the game.

Base Cross Offense

Base Cross Offense

| Entries | Basic Reads | Post Options | Ball Reversal | Installing | Game Strategy | Case for Defense |

We coaches have a tendency to make the game too complex. At first glance the Base Cross offense may look simple, but it's the execution of the baseline screen that is the key to making it so devastating. Basically, the point guard O1 initiates the base cross screen action with an entry pass to the wing O3 and makes a "Give & Go" cut to the basket. If not open on the basket cut, O1 continues and sets a strong baseline screen for O5. Post O5 comes off smaller O1's screen for a shot or a strong post up.

O1 after setting the baseline screen will continue out to the weakside wing off the weakside wing's down screen (or pop back up to the free throw line if the defense switches). When the wing O3 cannot feed O5, O3 makes a reversal pass out to O2 who, in turn, looks for O1 coming off O4's weakside down screen or O4 posting up strong.

Offensive Fundamentals Required

Learn More   Creating Leads - Proven Techniques to Get Open

Learn More Setting and Using Base Screens

Learn More  Setting and Using Down Screens

Learn More Basic Low Post Moves

 

Schematic Sequence

Base Cross Offense Schematic

 


5 Stars

Phase 1. Entry

Various teams have adapted the Base Cross screen action to take advantage of their specific player personnel. Most of these variations are actually just variations as to which player sets the baseline screen.

Basic Entries:

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| Pass Entry | Dribble Entry | UCLA Entry | Hawk Entry |

Pass Entry

Base Cross Pass Entry

The point guard O1 initiates the base cross screen action with an entry pass to the wing O3 and making a "Give & Go" cut to the basket. If O1 is not open on the basket cut, O1 continues and sets a baseline screen for O5. Post O5 comes off smaller O1's screen for a shot or a strong post up. O1 after setting the baseline screen will either continue out to the weakside wing off the power forward's down screen or pop back up to the free throw line if the defense switches.

Dribble Clear Entry

Base Cross Dribble Clear Entry

Point guard 01 dribble clears the wing 03. 03 back cuts and then sets a baseline screen (small screening for big) under the basket for the post O5. O5 comes off O3's screen for a shot or a strong post up. O3 after setting the baseline screen will either continue out to the weakside wing off the power forward's down screen or pop back up to the free throw line if the defense switches.

UCLA High Post Rub Entry

Base Cross UCLA Entry

Using 1-4 high post alignment, the point guard O1 makes an entry pass to O3 and rubs off O4's high post screen. If not open, O1 continues and sets a baseline screen under the basket for O5. O5 comes off O1's screen for a shot or a strong post up.

Hawk Entry

Base Cross Hawk Entry

Using the Hawk alignment, the point dribble penetrates down sideline as the off guard O2 cuts off O4's high post screen. If not open, O2 continues and sets a baseline screen under the basket for O5. O5 comes off O1's screen for a shot or a strong post up.

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5 Stars

Phase 2: Execution of the Baseline Screen

Base Screen Reads

"It's not what you run, but how you run it that counts." The success of any offense is dependant on precise execution. In the Base Cross Offense, it is important for the screener to set a solid baseline screen, and equally important for the receiver to set up and use the screen.

Basic Reads and Counters. What if the....

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Basic Reads & Counters

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  1. Defender TRAILS the screener?  Counter

  2. Defender plays on the LOWSIDE of the post?  Counter

  3. Defender plays on the TOPSIDE of the post?  Counter

  4. Defense SWITCHES on the base screen?  Counter

    Smaller defender is MISMATCHED INSIDE against post.

    Bigger defender MISMATCHED OUTSIDE against quicker ball handler.

  5. Defenders ANTICIPATE the switch and zone?    Counter

  6. Defender FRONTS the post?  Counter

 

 

 


Read: Defender Trails Screener

Counter: Back Cut

Back Cut

On O1's dribble clear action to the wing, if defender X3 should over play or trail O3 on back cut, O1 looks to feed O3 for open layup.

Give & Go Cut

On the ballhander O1 pass to wing, if defender X1 should trail O1 on "Give & Go" basket cut, O3 looks to feed O1 for open layup.

 

Read: Post Defender X5 Plays Low

Counter: Go Top (Over)

Dribble Post Go Top

Pass Post Go Top

Go Over. When defender X5 plays low to the baseline side of O5, O5 takes X5 low to set up O3's screen and then breaks over the screen for shot or strong post up.

 

Read: Post Defender X5 Plays High

Counter: Go Base (Under)

Dribble Post Go Low

Pass Post Go Low

Go Under. When defender X5 plays to the high side of O5, O5 takes X5 high to set up O3's screen and then breaks under the screen for shot or strong post up.

 

Read: Defensive players SWITCH on the screen.

Counter: Screen and Pop

Dribble Screen & Pop

Pass Screen & Pop

Mismatch Inside

When the defense switches on the base screen, O3 breaks up to the free throw line and O1 looks to feed post O5 posting up against the smaller defender X3.

Dribble Screen & Pop

Pass Screen & Pop

Outside Mismatch

Against the defensive switch, when O3 has a definite advantage over bigger X5, O5 clears out allowing O3 to go one on one against X5 from the free throw line. If/when O3's shot is not available, post can then dive to the basket to exploit smaller X1.

 

Defensive players "SHOW & RECOVER"

Counter: Screener Slips & Cuts to Basket

Dribble Show

Pass Show High

Slip. When defensive players X2 and X5 anticipate switching or "Show & Recover" on the base screen, screen O3 should fake the screen and slip (cut away) to basket for shot.

 

Read: Defender Fronts Post

Counter: Post Lob Option

Dribble Lob

Lob Pass. When the defense X5 assumes a full front denial position on the post, the post should force the defense out away from the basket, seal off the defender, and give the passer a target with the baseline hand. Passer should make a pass just over the top of the fronting defensive player.

Note: It is important for the post to wait and not release the defensive seal until the pass is overhead.

Reversal Post Feed

Ball Reversal option. Against the post front, the O1 also has the option of making a reversal pass to O3 breaking up to the free throw line for a better passing angle into the post.

 


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Phase: 3 Posting Up Strong

Posting Up

For the Post Isolation to be effective, physical size alone is not enough, players posting up must be well schooled in the basic post moves. In addition, both the passer and post player must be cognizant of the location of defensive player. Long time coach and present Laker assistant, Tex Winter, has not only brought the importance of court spacing along with the Triangle Post offense into the game, but he has also coined the phase "line of deployment" which assists players and coaches in "reading" and countering defensive post deployment.

Post Reads: What if the defender . . . .

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What if the defender plays on the HIGH SIDE of the post? Power Lay-up

What if the defender plays on the BASELINE SIDE of the post? Baby Hook

What if the defender plays on the BEHIND of the post? Face-Up

What if the defender FRONTS the post? Lob

What if the defense DOUBLE TEAMS the post? Trap Release


READ: Defender plays on the HIGH SIDE of the post.

COUNTER: Power Lay-up Option

Post Power Layup

When the defender X5 assumes a 3/4 pass denial position on the top side (above the line of deployment) of the post, the post should cheat up the lane, seal off the defender, and give the passer a target with the baseline hand. Passer should lead the post to the basket for power lay up. Post should maintain defensive seal until pass is overhead.

Corner Feed option.

When the defense assumes a 3/4 pass denial position on the top side of the post, the wing O3 has option of passing the ball to the corner for a better passing angle into the post.


READ: Defender plays on the BASELINE SIDE of the post.

COUNTER: Baby Hook Option

When the defender X5 assumes a 3/4 pass denial position on the baseline side (below the line of deployment) of the post, the post should cheat down the lane, seal off the defender, and present the passer a target with the top hand. Passer should lead the post to the basket for baby hook. The baby hook should be executed with a quick, long, lead step into the middle with the foot pointing toward sideline or corner. Shooting arm should be kept straight using a flipping wrist motion. Shooter should be end up facing the basket on follow through.

Point Feed option.

When the defense assumes a 3/4 pass denial position on the baseline side of the post, like with the post front, the wing has option of reversing the ball to the top of the circle for a better passing angle into the post.

 


READ: Defender plays BEHIND the post.

COUNTER: Turn & Face (Triple Threat)

When the defense X5 plays behind the post, the post should seal off the defender with a strong low, knees flexed stance, and give the passer a target with both hands. Upon receiving the pass, the post should make a strong pivot and face the basket assuming a triple threat position (drive, shoot or pass). Unless the defensive post is an extremely good shot blocker, the defensive player is at a big disadvantage.

Triple Threat Shot Options

  1. Jump Shot. Defender has hands down.

  2. Pump Fake and Drive. Defender anticipates and challenges shot.
  3. Step Back. One dribble drive step toward basket then a quick step back to create separation from the defense.

Note: All three Triple Threat shot options are sequential read and react (attack) moves.


Defender FRONTS the post.

COUNTER: Post Lob Option

When the defense X5 assumes a full front denial position on the post, the post should force the defense out away from the basket, seal off the defender, and give the passer a target with the baseline hand. Passer should make a pass just over the top of the fronting defensive player. Note: It is important for the post to wait and not release the defensive seal until the pass is overhead.

Ball Reversal option.

Against the post front, the wing also has option of reversing the ball to the top of the circle for a better passing angle into the post.


Defenders DOUBLE TEAMS the post.

COUNTER 1: Pressure Release to Elbow

One of the best ways to counter the post double team is by attacking it before with quick moves before the trap can be set.

Elbow Release Left

Elbow Release Right

When the defense double teams by bringing a player across along the baseline on the low side, the post has option countering by  releasing up to the elbow.

COUNTER 2: Pressure Release to Short Corner

Short Corner Left

Short Corner Right

When the defense double teams by bringing a player down from the top, the post has option of releasing to short corner on baseline.

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5 Stars

Low Post Two Person game: Solo Cut Options

Post Solo Cut

In addition to one-on-one isolation in low post area, the Post Isolation set readily flows into two-on-two action. The wing can initiates the two person game simply by feeding and cutting off the low post.

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Pass and cut baseline options:

| Handoff | Fake Handoff | Step Back Jumper | Post Roll |

Pass and cut over the top options:

| Handoff | Fake Handoff | Pull up Jumper | Post Roll |

Other options:

Side Screen and Post Pick

Baseline Solo Cut Actions

(On-ball defender plays high)

Read: Defender CHASES OVER screen.

COUNTER: Handoff and Drive

Base Drive

When the defender X3 plays on the high side of wing O3, after feeding the post O5, O3 should fake high and then cut baseline for possible handoff and shot. When O3 does not receive a return pass from O5, O3 continues out to the weakside isolating the post O5 on a one-on-one situation.

Read: Post defender CHEATS OUT SHOWS) to help.

COUNTER: Fake Handoff and Post Drive Opposite

Fake Handoff Base

When defensive post X5 tries to step out and help out on O3's base cut, the post O5 has option of faking the handoff and making a quick move opposite into the middle for shot.

Read: Defender goes BEHIND on base cut.

COUNTER: Step Back Jumper

Step Back

When when O3's defender X3 goes behind O5, cutter O3 fades out by executing a "V" cut or step back move for a pull up baseline jump shot.

Read: Defenders SWITCH on base cut.

COUNTER 1: Post Roll

Switch

When the defense switches, O3 strings out the defense with dribble, isolating the post O5 against the smaller defender X1.

COUNTER 2: Outside Mismatch Isolation

Switch Clear Right

The post O5 can also clear out, isolating O3 one-on-one against the bigger defender X5.

^ TOP


 

Solo Top (Over) Cut Actions

On-ball defender plays low

Read: Defender CHASES OVER screen

COUNTER: Handoff and Drive

Drive Top

When the defense plays to the low side of wing O3, O3 after feeding the post O5, should fake low and then cut over the top of the post for possible handoff and shot. When the wing does not receive a return passfrom the post, the wing continues out to the weakside isolating the post on a one-on-one situation.

Read: Defender CHEATS OUT (SHOWS) to help

COUNTER: Fake Handoff and Post Drive Opposite

Fake Handoff

When defensive post X5 tries to step out and help out on top cut, the post O5 has option of faking the handoff and making a quick baseline drop step or spin move to basket for shot.

Read: Defender goes BEHIND on top cut.

COUNTER: Pull Up Jumper

Pull Up

When when O3's defender X3 goes behind O5, cutter O3 fades out by executing a "V" cut or step back move for a pull up baseline jump shot.

Defenders SWITCH against the top cut.

COUNTER: Post Roll

Switch Top Cut Right

When the defense switches, O3 strings out the defense with dribble, isolating the post O5 against the smaller defender X1.

Outside Mismatch Isolation

Switch Iso Right

The post O5 can also clear out, isolating O3 one-on-one against the bigger defender X5.

^ TOP

 

Other Solo Cut Actions

Read: Post steps out and screens.

Counter: Side Screen Action

Side Screen

Post can initiate side screen action at any time by stepping out and setting an "ON" ball screen for the O3 on wing. O3 drives hard of O5's side screen and has layup, pull up jump shot, or pass to O5 rolling to basket.

Learn More Proper Execution of On Ball Screens

Read: Cutter screens the post's defender.

READ: Post Pick Action

Solo Cut Post Pick

Wing O3 after feeding the post sets a screen on he post's defensive player, allowing the post to wheel into the middle off pick for shot or drive.

Note: most teams are not prepare to defend the on ball post pick.

^ CLOSE


5 Stars

Basic Low Post Split Options

Post Split

In the past, post splits were a staple in the vast majority of offenses. Although, their use has waned in recent years, post splits remain a very potent weapon for creating easy and open shots. On post splits whoever feeds the post cuts first.

Note: Both cutters clear out if they do not receive the ball allowing the post to isolate one-on-one against defender X5.

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| Post Split Cut | Fake Split/Back Cut | Post Split/Screen | Two Same Side |

Post Split Option

Zipper Post Split

O1 feeds the post O5 and cuts over the top. O2 cuts off the point's moving screen for shot. Post O5 has option of feeding either cutter.
Note: Both cutters clear out if they do not receive the ball allowing the post to isolate one-on-one against X5.

vs. Defensive Switch

Post Split vs. Switch

If the defense switches on the post split, the post looks primarily to feed the O1 cutting to the basket.

Fake Post Split Option

Fake Post Split

When the defense anticipates the post splits, one or both cutters can stop and back cut to basket for shot.

Post Split Screen/Roll Option

Post Split Screen & Roll

The point guard O1, after feeding the post O5, executes a contact screen and roll near the free throw line for the shooting guard O2.

Post Split - Two Same Side Option

Post Split Two Same Side

When the defenders switch or anticipate the post split, O1 can feed the post O5 and make a solo baseline cut instead of going over the top on a post split. O2 cuts to short corner. Post O5 has option of feeding either cutter.

vs. Defensive Anticipation

Post Split Back Cut

When O1 feeds the post O5, if defender X2 anticipates the post split, O2 back cuts to the basket instead on splitting the post. O1 makes a solo cut over the top of O5.

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5 Stars

Phase 4. Ball Reversal Options

Base Cross Reversal

When a good shot is not available off the base screen action, the Base Cross Offense can flow directly into a quick hitting weakside down screen.

Weakside Down Screen

Base Screen Ball Reversal

After setting the baseline screen, O3 continues out to the weakside wing off O4's down screen. O1 makes a reversal pass out to O2, who in turn looks to pass to O3 curling off the down screen or to feed O4 rolling to the basket.

Learn More  Executing Down Screens

Mid Screen Option

Ball Reversal Mid Screen

After setting or faking the weakside down screen, O4 can step out and set a mid screen for O2.

Learn More  Executing Mid Screens

Side Screen Option

Ball Reversal Side Screen

After setting the weakside down screen, O4 also has the option of stepping out and setting a side screen for O3.

Learn More  Executing Side Screens

 


CAUTION

Read: Reversal Pass Denial

Counter: Automatic Back Cut

Reversal Pass Back Cut

Single/Double Screen Options

If defender X2 overplays and denies the reversal pass, O2 back cuts to the basket looking for a quick feed from O1. O3 replaces O2 on back cut. When O2 does not receive a pass from O1 on back cut, Single/Double screen action can take place.

Learn More Single Double Offense

 


5 Stars

Clipboard

Teaching & Implementing the Base Cross Offense

The key to the success of theBase Cross Offense is in its execution and coordination. Players need to be well prepared to execute base screens, posting up strong, and down screens. In addition, players have to think and function as one unit. This requires proper defensive recognition, non-verbal communication, timing and experience.

Caution: Before undertaking any offense, players must have a solid, working knowledge of all of its components.

Learn More  Whole-Part-Whole Method of Teaching

Learn More Motor Skills Learning

 

Mid Screen Breakdown Drills:

View/Print  Two Player Entries Drill (2-on-2)

View/Print  3-on-3 Base Cross Screen Combination Drill (Entry, Base Screen, & Ball Reversals)

View/Print  Half and Full Court Scrimmaging

 

The Game Within a Game

Individual offensive skill development and improvement should be an integral part of every practice. In addition to early time (before practice) work, each player should, personally, have one or two individual fundamental techniques to work on during the course of a practice. The specific skill or skills will vary from player to player and can be assigned by the coaching staff or determined by the players themselves. As a reminder, the skill(s) should be written down on a 3 X 5 card and give it to each player prior to practice.


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Game Strategies

Scout your opponent. Players need to know what reads to expect during the game. Opponents will generally use only a primary and secondary defense technique in defending screens and post ups. Educate and explain the anticipated reads and their counters. When scouting is not possible, scout your opponent during the game.

Don't be a spectator and watch the ball during the game. Be conscience and alert to any defensive changes or adjustments, especially after substitutions and timeouts. Don't hesitate in deploying various alignments and entries during the game so that defenders cannot focus on defending just one set. Move players around and attack the weakest defenders.

 


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The Case for the Defense

Even if you do not plan to use the Base Cross Offense, you better be prepared to defend against it. It is one of the most used offenses to isolate a good low post player.

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Learn More

Continue and learn proven ways and techniques to disrupt the Base Cross Offense

 

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