login to members site  

Basketball Pattern Offenses

By Dr. James Gels, From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

  See more comments...

Patterned offenses require players to run a specified pattern of movement, screens, cuts, passing, etc. There is continuity, or continuous flow from side to side. The Flex and Shuffle offenses are examples.

Teams that don't have strong inside post players may like these offenses (especially the Shuffle), as the players interchange positions. This can lead to defensive mis-matches and easy baskets. Counters and options are necessary to confuse the defense, as otherwise the offense becomes too predictable.

In running set patterns, young players might not learn to read defenses. In addition, a fair amount of practice time may be needed to learn these offenses.

Flex Offense

The "Flex" is patterned offense featuring passing, screening, ball-reversal, options and counters. This offense is most effective against man-to-man defenses. Most scoring opportunities come off the "flex cut" inside, or a jump-shot from the elbows.

You can run various options, counters, post plays, etc. Size mis-matches often occur due to the screening and defensive switching. A "High Flex" delay offense, a "5-Out Flex offense", and the "Thunder" offense are variations of the Flex. The Thunder offense can be used with youth teams.

Flex Offense - flex cut

  • Flex Offense
    Start with this detailed article on the flex offense.
  • High Flex Offense
    Can be used as a delay stall offense.
  • 5-Out (Open Post) Flex Offense
    In the members section... a flex pattern for the 5-out offense.
  • Thunder Offense
    Youth teams could use this.

Wisconsin Swing Offense

Legendary former Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan's offense is a 4-out patterned offense that has continuity. All five players are interchangeable, and spacing, screening, cutting and good passing are paramount. The offense is deliberate, often with multiple passes and places value on each possession with high percentage inside shots, or free-throws. It combines elements of the UCLA offense, the flex, and the triangle offense.

bo ryan
Coach Bo Ryan


Misc Patterned Offenses

Coach Dean Smith
Coach Dean Smith
  • Shuffle Offense
    Detailed offense from legendary coach Dean Smith. All 5 players rotate in each of the five shuffle positions. There is continuity, counters and options.
  • T-Game Triple-Post Offense
    T-game offense also from coach Dean Smith, is a power inside game for a team with good post players. Easy to learn.
  • CMU Wheel Offense
    This patterned continuity offense gets players moving for lay-ups and good shots. There are counters and options.
  • Youth Swing Offense
    Good for youth teams, this is a simple pass, cut, and fill offense that offers a variety of counter options.

2-3 Patterned Offenses

2-3 high patterned basketball offense
  • 2-3 High Patterned Offense
    This offense takes the opponent's post defenders away from the basket. It looks a little like the Princeton, but with a pattern and continuity. Scoring options come off screens, open cutters, and counters.
  • 2-3 Man Offense
    A deliberate, tempo-control offense that looks for high-percentage inside shots, post-moves, lay-ups, free-throws, offensive rebounds. Two basic patterns - "2-3 Low" offense and "2-3 High" offense, both with continuity.
  • Michigan-Style 2-Guard Offense
    From Coach Tom Jicha, this is a read and react, perimeter-based, patterned offense that also allows for free-lance motion. There are three sets ("chin", "motion" and "shuffle"), which easily flow into one another.

Related pages: