How to Use Your Post Player in the 4-Out Offense

By Dr. James Gels, From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
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How you use your post player in the 4-out motion offense depends somewhat on the post player. If he/she is most comfortable inside playing back to the basket, keep him inside near the blocks (see 4-Out "Low" Plays). If he/she is not a scorer, use him/her as a screener. Otherwise, give him freedom to move from low to high post and vice-versa, get the ball to him and let him score (see 4-Out "High" Plays).

This article presents some ideas on how to use your post player from Ken French, Head Coach at the University of Rio Grande.

Post Player Inside and Seals on Ball-Reversal

O5 is on the weakside low block (diagram 1). O1 passes to O2 and cuts through to the opposite corner as O3 and O4 rotate over. Usually the X5 defender slides over into a helpside position. As the ball is reversed (diagram 2) to O3 and O4, O5 steps into X5, seals and gets the pass from O4 and scores. Simple stuff often works best!

4-out offense post play - weakside 4-out offense post play - seal X5

Back-screen to Ball-screen

O4 passes to wing O1 (diagram 3). O5 makes two screens, a back-screen for O4, followed by a ball-screen for O1. O5 has to communicate and call out these screens. On the back-screen, O4 cuts through to the opposite corner. O5 ball-screens for O1 (diagram 4) and they run the pick and roll.

4-out offense post play - back-screen 4-out offense post play - pick and roll

Let's reset and start at the top with O1 bringing the ball into the half-court (diagram 5). O1 passes to O2 and cuts through to the opposite corner, while O3 and O4 exchange. O4, O3 and O1 rotate and fill the spots (diagram 6). The ball is reversed from O2 to O4 to O3 (diagram 7). O5 seals X5, looking for the pass.

4-out offense post play - reset offense 4-out offense post play - rotate 4-out offense post play - reverse ball and O5 seal

O5 is not open, so the pass goes to O1. O5 back-screens for O3 (diagram 8) and O3 cuts through to the opposite corner. O2 and O4 exchange on the weakside. O5 ball-screens for O1 and they run the pick and roll (diagram 9). O1's first option is to score a jump-shot or lay-up. Other options include a "pocket" or lob pass to O5 rolling inside, or a perimeter pass to O3, O4 or O2.

Here's another rule: whenever O5 ball-screens, the weakside players get into a back-side slot or spot, where they could be open for a 3-point shot. O1 could pass over to O3 or O4, or back to O2 in the "safety" slot.

4-out offense post play - backscreen 4-out offense post play - ball-screen options

High Post Player vs Aggressive Perimeter Defense

If the defense is playing very aggressively on the perimeter, denying, trapping, etc put your post player O5 at the high post (diagram 10). This gives your perimeter players another pass receiver when they are under pressure. It also opens things up underneath for baseline dribble-drives and back-cuts.

Diagram 11 shows the pass to O2 followed by O2's baseline dribble-drive. On the drive, the X5 defender usually drops down to help. O5 could cut backdoor to the opposite block, or if O5 is a good shooter, could stay and spot up at the elbow for the pass from O2 and the shot. Notice that O4 slides down to the weakside corner and could get the pass from O2 and a 3-point shot.

4-out offense post play - high post 4-out offense post play - baseline drive

Diagram 12 shows a back-door cut by O2 on the pass to the high post. This works well if the X2 defender is overplaying and denying.

Dribble-at, back-cut. Another pressure-release, O1 dribbles at O2 (diagram 13). O2 fakes coming up (as for a dribble hand-off), and back-cuts for the pass from O1.

Finally, if O5 is quick off the dribble, he/she can attack X5 1-on-1 (diagram 14), as there often is no helpside defense when the ball is in the middle at the high post.

4-out offense post play - backdoor cut 4-out offense post play - dribble at, back-cut 4-out offense post play - O5 attacks

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