Single/Double Offense

Single/Double Play Diagram

What to Discover or Recall . . .

Looking for an offense to free up a good shooter? Take a look at the "Single/Double" Offense
The "Single/Double" set offense is contained in almost every NBA playbook.
It is design to free up outstanding shooter by running them off a a double baseline and down screens.
Since the Single/Doubles initial attack is down the middle, it attacks both sides of the defense simultaneously making defensive help nearly impossible.

The "Single/Double" Offense is very 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 hard to defend. The basic option is for the shooting guard to make cut to the basket at which point has the option of either pop back out off either a single single or a double screen. The small forward goes opposite. Once the ball is entered to a wing, play continuity usually involves post ups, screening motion game or side screen action.

| Basic Actions | Reads & Counters | Variations | Continuities | Game Strategy | Case for Defense |


Schematic Sequence

Single/Double Offense Schematic


Required Offensive Fundamentals

Learn More   Setting & Using Off Ball Screens

Learn More  Down Screen Execution

Learn More  Executing Double Screens

Learn More Basic Low Post Moves


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Single/Double Basic Action

Single/Double Variation

| Double Screen | Single Screen | Breaking Double Screens | Rebounding |

O3 and O4 set a double screen while O5 sets a single screen for the shooter O2 on baseline. O2 has option of going off the double screen or reversing back of the single down screen. Wing O3 goes opposite of O2. When the defenders switch on the screens, it creates mismatches inside for strong post ups against smaller defenders.

Phase 1. Single/Double Screen action

Double Option

Double Screen Option

Shooter O2 curls off O3's and O4's double screen for shot.

Double Opposite

Single Screen Option

When O2's defender anticipates and over plays the double screen, O2 can reverse back off O5's screen for shot.

Double Option

Against a tenacious defender, it may take multiple fakes to create space.

Double Opposite

Hard to guard: Multiple faking to set up the single down screen.

Phase 2. Second Shooter Goes Opposite

Screener Goes Opposite

Whenever shooter O2 uses the double screen, O3 after setting screen crosses over and goes off O5's screen.

Screener Pops out

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


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Proper Execution of the Double Screen

Baseline Double Screen

The keys to the success of the double team is in its execution and coordination. Since most teams are ill-prepared to defend double screens, when executed properly, they create excellent scoring opportunities. However, players must be prepared to recognize and attack the following defensive situations:

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

Click on desired read below to view illustrated counter option.

  1. Defender CHASES & TRAILS the receiver?

  2. Defender CHEATS OVER the double screen?

  3. Defenders SWITCH against double screen?

  4. Defender SHOWS & RECOVERS on double screen?

  5. Ballhander's defender ANTICIPATES & OVERPLAYS the passing lane?

  6. BREAKING the Double Screen



Read: Defender CHASES UNDER the double screen.

Counter: Curl

Double Screen Curl


When defender chases out UNDER the double screen, the shooter curls for a quick open shot.

Curl for lay up

Curl to Basket

When the defender is late chasing out, the receiver can curl all the way to the basket for an easy lay-up.


Read: Defender CHEATS OVER the double screen.

Counter: Fade or Back Cut

Fade Option


When the defender cheats OVER the top of the double screen, the shooter simply fades to the baseline for open shot.

Curl for lay up

Back Cut

When the defender goes OVER the double screen, the receiver also has the option of back cutting to the basket.


Read: Defenders SWITCH on the double screen.

Counter: Post or Wing Isolation

Post Isolation

Post Iso

When the defenders SWITCH on the double screen, both the topside screener and shooter clear out, and the baseline screener posts up strong against the smaller defender.

Wing Isolation

Wing Iso

When the defensive players switch, both screeners can clear out isolating the shooter one-on-one against bigger less mobile defender. If a good shot is not available, the screener can then dive to the basket to exploit the much smaller defender.

Read: Defenders SHOW & RECOVER on double screen.

Counter: Slip the Screen

Slip Option


Any time the topside defender steps out and "SHOWS" to help out, the screener immediately cuts away to the basket for shot.

Curl for lay up


On a double screen, if the baseline screener's defender steps up and switches to help out against the slip, the baseline screener goes to the basket for a lob pass.


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

Dribble Penetration Option


Whenever the On-Ball defender X1 anticipates and overplays the passing lane to the wings, 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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Breaking the Double Screen

Double Screens are not deployed just to free up a shooter. They also provide excellent shot options for the screeners. Proper breaking double screens adds another burden and problem for the defense. Breaking a double screen is an integral and final phase of executing double screens.

However, very few teams practice the various options for breaking out of a double screen. In breaking a double screen, the screeners can down screen or back screen for each other executing the basic "Reads" & "Counters." If done, right breaking double screens will definitely result in easy baskets.

1. Topside screener screens for low screener.

Screen & Roll Action


Pop Out

Top screener sets a down screen for low screener who pops out for a quick shot.


Screen & Roll

When the defenders switch, the screener seals off the low defender and rolls to the basket for shot. The screener can also slip the screen and cut away to basket.

2. Baseline screener screens for topside screener.

Back Screen Option



Low screener steps up and sets a back screen for top screener who rolls to basket for a lob or over the top pass.


Screen & Roll

When the defenders switch, the top screener clears out as the screener seals off the topside defender and rolls to the basket for shot. The screener can also slip the screen and cut away to basket.


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Proper Execution of the Down Screens

Although during a game, the opposing 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 defender . . . .

Expand Close Button

Click on desired read below to view illustrated counter option.

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

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

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

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

  5. What if the defenders SWITCH against the screen?

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


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 Mismatch 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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Executing Strong Posts Up

Strong Post Ups

When the defense focus on stopping the shooters, the ball handler O1 looks inside to feed O4 or O5 posting up strong against smaller defenders. All players should be proficient in posting up strong and executing basic post moves.

Learn More  Posting Up One-on-One


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Offensive 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. Second, Third and Fourth efforts should be common place to offensive rebounding.

Power Basic

The Single/Double offense provides for a definite offensive rebounding edge. In addition to having inside player positions, it 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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Alignment Variations





The Single/Double Offense can be ran from any offensive alignment that fits your player personnel. In addition, the shooter can be moved around within an alignment so that the defender cannot anticipate and get set.


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Single/Double Continuities

When the original down screens do not produce the desired shot, the Single/Double 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" actions can also be readily used.

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

Expand Close Button

Click on desired read below to view illustrated counter option.

| Motion | Side Screen | Drive & Kick |

Motion - Pass and Screen Away

Motion Continuity

When the ballhandler O1 passes to a wing and a good shoot is not available, the Single/Double Offense can flow directly into a motion continuity. When ballhandler O1 passes to O2 on wing, O1 and O4 screen away (opposite) for O3 and O5. O2 looks for shot or to feed O5 or O3.

Base Cross

When O2 on the wing makes a reversal pass out to O3, O2 and O1 cross on the baseline (touching right hands) off O4's and O5's base screens.

Screen Away

If O3 passes to O2 on wing, the screen away action is repeated with O3 and O5 screening for O1 and O4.

Down Screens

When O2 makes a reversal pass out to O1, O2 and O3 set down screens for O4 and O5.

Screen Away

When O1 passes to O5 on the wing, the motion action continues with O1 and O3 screening for O2 and O4. The down screen and screen away action then repeat.

Learn More  Motion Offenses

Side Screen Action

Side Screen Right

Side screen action can be initiated simply by the post stepping out and setting an On-Ball screen. O1 passes to O2 on wing, and spots up with O3 on weakside for three point shots. Post O4 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 - Reads & Counters


Drive & Kick (Dribble Handoff)

Drive & Kick

Point O1 initiates the "Drive & Kick" continuity by executing a dribble handoff with either wing. If O1 executes a dribble handoff with O3, 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 O2's 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



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Teaching & Implementing the Single/Double Offense

The key to the success of the Single/Double Offense is in its precise execution and coordination. Players need to be well prepared to execute down screens and double 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


Breakdown Drills:

View/Print  2-on-2 Combination Down Screen, Post Ups and Side Screen

View/Print 4-on-4 Single/Double - Base Screens, Post Ups, and Side Screens

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 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 Single/Double Offense, you better know how to defend against it.

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Continue and learn proven ways and techniques to defend the Single/Double Offense






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