Power Offense

Power Offense Diagram

What to Discover or Recall . . .

Looking for an offense to free up good shooters? Take a look at the "Power" Offense
The "Power" set offense is used by almost every NBA team.
It is design to free up outstanding shooters by running them off a series of baseline and down screens.
Since Power's initial attack is down the middle, it attacks both sides of the defense simultaneously making defensive help nearly impossible.

The basic option is for the wings to cross under the basket and continue off down screens. Simple, but when well executed, down screens are a very effective means for getting the ball to good shooters for open shots along with creating low post mismatches if the defense should switch. Once the ball is entered to a wing, play continuity continues with alternating screening away and down screens.

| Entry | Down Screens | Rebounding | Automatics | Continuities | Variation | Game Strategy | Case for Defense |


Schematic Sequence

Power Offense Schematic


Offensive Fundamentals Required

Learn More  Setting and Using Down Screens

Learn More Basic Low Post Moves

Learn More Offensive Rebounding


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Basic Power Action

Phase 1. Baseline Cross (Base Screen)

Power Base Cross Screen

The Power Offense is initiated with the shooters crossing under the basket, touching right hands to avoid any confusion or collisions. Shooters also fake the crossing action.


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Phase 2. Down Screens

Power Basic Down Screens

Shooters after crossing on the baseline, immediately curl off O4's and O5's down screens. Point O1 looks to pass to O2 or O3 coming off the down screens or to feed O4 or O5 rolling to the basket after setting their down screens.

Although during a game, a team will only deploy one or two methods of defending down screens, players need to possess a working knowledge of all the defensive various reads and counters. However, coaches must stay active and alert to any defensive changes that the opponent may make during a game.


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

Click on desired read below to view illustrated counter option.

  1. What if the defender CHASES & TRAILS the receiver? Counter

  2. What if the defender CHASES OUT LATE & TRAILS the receiver? Counter

  3. What if the defender goes CHEATS OVER the screen? Counter

  4. What if the defender goes CHEATS OVER the screen EARLY? Counter

  5. What if the defenders SWITCH against the screen?  Counter

  6. What if the defenders SHOW & RECOVER on screen? Counter


Read: Defender CHASES OUT and trails the receiver.

Counter: Curl

Down Screen Curl

Down ScreenCurl Right

When the defender CHASES OUT, the shooter curls off the screen for a quick open jump shot.


Read: Defender CHASES OUT LATE and trails the receiver.

Counter: Basket Curl

Down Screen Basket Curl

Down Screen Basket Curl Right

Note: When the defender CHASES OUT late, the shooter can curl all the way to the basket.



Read: Defender CHEATS OVER the screen.

Counter: Fade

Down Screen Fade Left

Down Screen Fade R

When the defender goes OVER the screen, the shooter should fade to baseline for open jumper.



Read: Defender CHEATS OVER the screen EARLY.

Counter: Back Cut

Down Screen Back Cut L

Down Screen Back Cut R

When the defender anticipates and CHEATS OVER the screen early, the shooter can change direction and back cut to the basket for shot.


Read: Defenders SWITCH on the Down-Screen.

Counter: Screen and Roll

Down Screen Roll L

Down Screen Roll R

When the defenders SWITCH on the down screen, the receivers pops out to the wing, and the screener "Seals Off" the defender and rolls to the basket for shot.

Post Iso Left

Post Iso Right

Post Isolation

When defenders Switch, the receiver pops out directly out to the wing allowing post to exploit smaller defender. The high post can either feed post directly or pass to any of the peripheral players for the post feed.

Wing Iso Left

Wing Iso Right

Wing Isolation

When the defensive players switch, the screener can clear out to weakside isolating the shooter one-on-one on the wing against bigger defender X4. If the wing's shot is not available, the post can then dive to the basket to exploit smaller defender X2.


Read: Defenders SHOW & RECOVER against the down screen.

Counter: Slip the Screen

Down Screen Slip L

Down Screen Slip Right

When the screener's defender SHOWS to help out on the down-screen, the screener immediately breaks off the screen and cuts away to the basket for shot.


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Phase 3. Offensive Rebounding

An integral part, but often overlooked, of any offense is rebounding. The importance of offensive rebounding to the outcome of the game cannot be over emphasized. Simply stated, even if you shoot well, it is going to be very difficult to win if you get only one shot. Rather than size and strength that is required for defensive rebounding, offensive rebounding requires anticipation, determination, and hustle. Players must develop an attitude as well as an instinct for the ball. They must be aggressive and determined. 2nd, 3rd and 4th efforts should be common place to offensive rebounding.


The Power offense provides for a definite offensive rebounding edge. In addition to having inside player positions, the Power Offense always has two offensive rebounders on the weakside. However, to capitalize on this advantage, players must assume that all shots will be missed and "Box Out" their defenders.

Learn More Offensive Rebounding Techniques



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Automatic Counters

Power's flexibility provides for quick hitting counters to attack any defensive overplays.

What if the Defenders ....

Click on desired read below to view illustrated counter option.

  1. Defenders ANTICIPATE the baseline cross screen? Counter

  2. Defenders anticipate down screen and CHEAT OUT EARLY? Counter

  3. Defenders anticipates down screen and GOES OVER the screen? Counter

  4. Defenders SWITCH on down Screens? Counter

  5. Ballhandler's defender anticipates & OVERPLAYS THE PASS? Counter

1. Fake Cross Entry

Read: Defenders anticipate the baseline cross.

Power Basic Down Screens

Shooters O2 and O3 have option of faking the crossing action and pop back out the same side off O4's and O5's down screens. This option is very effective when the defensive players start anticipating the wing's crossing action.

2. Misdirection Entry

Read: Defenders anticipate down screen and cheats out early.

Power Basic Down Screens

When the defender anticipates the screen and cheats out early, the shooter goes over the screen. Shooter has option of shooting the ball when open or feeding the screener posting up inside.

3. Back Cut Entry

Read: Defenders anticipates down screen and goes over the screen.

Power Basic Down Screens

When the defender goes over the down screen, shooter O2 back cuts to the basket. The point can feed O2 directly or pass to screener O5 breaking up to the elbow for the back cut feed.

Power Basic Down Screens

If defenders X2 and X5 should switch on O2's back cut, O5 looks to feed O5 rolling to basket against smaller defender X2 or O2 coming off O3's down screen.

4. Direct Post Entry

Read: Defenders switch on down Screens.


When the defenders focus on stopping the shooters coming off the down screens or when the defense switches, O1 looks to make an entry pass directly into O4 or O5.

5. Dribble Drive Entry

Read: Ballhandler's defender anticipates & overplays the pass.


Whenever the on ball defender X1 anticipates and overplays the passing lane to the wing, O1 has the "green light" to drive hard to the basket. If either defender X4 or X5 steps up to help out against O1's drive, O1 can make a drop pass for easy shot.



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When the original crossing and down screens do not produce the desired shot, the Power Offense provides for continuous player movement. While motion is the most commonly used continuity, Side Screen is most effective when the shot clock is running down. "Drive & Kick" and "Triangle Post" actions can also be readily used. Most used continuities include: Motion, Side Screen, Drive & Kick, Triangle Post.


Expand Close Button

Click on desired read below to view illustrated counter option.

| Motion | Side Screen | Drive & Kick | Triangle Post |

1. Motion - Pass and Screen Away

Motion Continuity

Many teams will automatically flow into the "Power" action whenever their initial set offense breaks down, and will even call their power action "Motion." This continuous motion is initiated when the point guard O1 passes to either wing. The point screens away for the opposite wing. O1 screens away for the opposite wing O3 on weakside. O4 has option of posting up or screening away for O5. O2 looks to shoot, feed the post or to make a reversal pass out to O3 for shot.

Power Option

Five Player Option

Base Cross Option. When shooter O2 makes a reversal pass out to O3, power action continues with O2 and O1 crossing (or fake crossing) under the basket off O4's and O5's base screens. O3 looks to pass to O1 or O2 coming off the base screens or to feed O4 or O5 posting up strong.

Down Screen. 5 Player Motion is another option for continuity. Instead of the wings O1 and O3 crossing on the baseline, they set down screens for O4 and O5.

Once the ball is enter to a wing the ballside post and point screen away continuing the continuity action.

Learn More Motion Offenses

2. Side Screen

Side Screen Left

Point O1 passes to O3 coming off O4's base screen, and then spots up on weakside with O2 for three point shots. Post O4 then steps out and sets an ON BALL screen for O3. All of the side screen reads and counters are available.

Side Screen Right

Right side action, point O1 passes to O2 coming off O5's base screen, and spots up with O3 on weakside for three point shots. O5 then steps out and sets an ON BALL screen for O2 initiating side screen and roll action. All of the side screen reads and counters are available.

Learn More  Side Screen Offense

3. Drive & Kick (Dribble Hand-off)

Drive & Kick

Point O1 initiates the "Drive & Kick" continuity by executing a dribble hand-off with either O3. Wing O3 then dribble penetrates to basket for shot. If baseline defenders X4 or X5 step out to help on O3's drive, O3 makes a drop pass to O4 or O5 for an easy shot. If the weakside defender X2 sags off to help against the dribble penetration, O3 makes a kick out pass to open O2 spotting up.

Note: O1 has option of faking dribble handoff and driving to basket.

Kick Out Pass

Drive and Kick left

O3 after making the kick out pass to wing O2, O3 continues out off O5 to same side wing. When O2's spot up shot is not available, O2 dribble penetrates to basket for shot continuing the "Drive & Kick" action.

If a good shot is not available off dribble penetration, "Drive & Kick" action continues with O2 making a kick out pass to O1 and continuing off O4 to same side wing.

Learn More Drive & Kick Offense

4. Triangle Post Continuity

Triangle Post Continuity

Power Offense can flow directly into Triangle Post action with O1 passing to either wing and cutting to the same side corner forming the sideline triangle with O4 assumes a mid-post position. Weakside wing and post set up for ball reversal and two game action.

Post Split

2 Game

Sideline Triangle. When the wing feeds the post all of the basic triangle post options are available.

Ball Reversal. When the wing makes a reversal pass out to the point, it initiates the weakside two game action.

Learn More  Triangle Post Offense




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Single/Double Variation

Power's "Single/Double" variation is popular with team's that have the luxury of a great shooter. By giving the shooter the option to go both ways off baseline screens, it makes them much harder to defend.

Single/Double Variation

O3 and O5 set a double screen for the shooter O2 crossing under the basket. O2 has option of continuing off the double screen or reversing back of the O4's down screen. Wing O3 goes opposite of O2.

Double Option

Single screen option

Double Option. Whenever shooter O2 uses the double screen, O3 after setting screen crosses over and goes off O4's screen.

Single Option. When shooter O2 reverses back off O4's screen for shot, O3 goes pops out opposite off of O5's screen for shot.

Learn More  Single/Double Offense


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Teaching & Implementing the Power Offense

The key to the success of the Power Offense is in its execution and coordination. Players need to be well prepared to execute base and down screens along with strong post ups. The ballhandler, screener and receiver must think and function as one unit. This requires non-verbal communication, timing, and, most of all, defensive recognition.

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

Power Breakdown Drills:

Drill: 2-on-2 Combination Down Screen, Post Ups and Side Screen

Drill: 3-on-3 Motion - Down Screen, & Screen Away

Drill: Half and Full Court Scrimmaging


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 side screens. 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, both On-Ball and Off-Ball (screener). Use Side Screens as an organized continuity to use as the shot or game clocks winds down.


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The Case for the Defense

Even if you do not plan to use the Power Offense, you better know how to defend against it.

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Continue and learn proven ways and techniques to defend the Power Offense





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