Every NBA team now runs the horns offense also known as the A set (the starting positions resembles the letter A). The horns offense is a very versatile offense with great spacing that can work against a man or a zone and give multiple options based on your personnel.These plays are not special, it's the players that make the plays work - Lason PerkinsClick To Tweet
Coach Lason Perkins, an expert at X’s and O’s will share how the horns offense works and 8 plays for:
- Pick and roll. Think Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
- Plays for shooters. Think shots for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
- Plays for post players. Think getting the ball low to Blake Griffin.
- Isolation actions in the middle of the floor. Think Lebron James, Kobe and Carmelo catching in the kill zone.
Pros and cons of Horns
From my personal experience running the horns offense, this is a very advanced offense and less suitable for youth teams. It requires:
- Great execution out of the pick and roll. Your players should able to execute skills like the snake dribble, snake screen pick and roll, pick and pop, pick and roll with high conversion percentages.
- Shooters who can knock down corner 3’s. Spacing is critical and is very dependent on the wing’s ability to keep the guards honest and not cheat.
- Understanding of spacing and timing. Your players have to understand that they can’t drift inside and take away the space from the pick and roll and wait for the perfect timing to cut.
For a youth team, the biggest issue might be the corner wings. Without the strength to shoot 3’s, the defense will cheat and take away the spacing in the middle and a tendency for the wings to drift inside which will also take away the spacing. If you think your team has the qualities above then horns is a great offense to run.Execution of the plays has nothing to do with size or speed. It's a matter of good fundamentals. Click To Tweet
- Post players outside the 3 point line
- 2 shooters in the corner
- Ball handler in the middle
Pick and roll actions
In recent years, pick and roll action has been the most popular primary weapon in the NBA. It’s important to note that fundamental skills are key to running effective pick and roll and below are the pointers for pick and roll:
We’re going to cover 3 actions for the pick and roll.
- Post dive
- Opposite post
Simple pick and roll action with high post and guard. Think Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan. Out of the pick and roll there are multiple options:
- Drive to basket
- Kick to corner for 3 point
- Hit the roll man
- High low pass
Instead of 5 rolling to the basket, we have 4 turn and roll to the basket. Good option when the defense is very aggresive and playing way above the 3 point line. Options:
- 5 pops for an outside shot
- Hit the 4 roll man
- Kick to wing for 3
- High low past from 5 to 4
This set gives 4 and isolation play. 1 passes to 4 and then tries to get a dribble handoff. Then 5 sets a screen for 4 and 4 takes it to the rack.
Actions for shooters
We’ve got 2 actions off the horns sets to get your shooters open. Think Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Here are some teaching points for shooters coming off screens:
This set gets your shooters open off a handoff. 1 passes to 4, then fakes a dribble handoff with 4. 1 sets a screen for 3 coming from the corner and then 4 dribble handoffs to 3.
As the name suggests, this play uses single and staggered screens to get open looks for both corner wings.
These 2 plays get the ball to your best low post players. Think the likes of Blake Griffin. With the 2 post players coming up high, it leaves alot of room to work down low.
If you’ve been blessed by the basketball gods to have a Kobe or Kevin Durant, you can use this set to create an isolation for your best player to score.
Coach Lason Perkins says that there’s nothing special about these plays, it’s the execution of the play that matters. Your players need great:
The horns set is a very versatile set with multiple options. Leave a comment if you use horns yourself and let me know if we’re missing anything from this guide!
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