The dribble hand off (DHO) is the most underused action in the US game. Recently, teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Kentucky Wildcats have begun adding DHO action and we can see the success they’ve had from the ball movement, space and flow that it generates.
Why should you add DHO action into your offense? Here are 3 quick reasons:
- It’s a screen and a pass so it creates a ton of space, devastating vs man defenses.
- Defenses hate them because there are so many options.
- You can use this action for any age group or within any offense.
To prove that you can run DHO in any offense I’ve included several outstanding plays and principles that you can try with your own team.
What’s a Dribble Hand Off?
Before I carry on with my breakdown, I want to make sure that we’re clear about what a dribble hand off is. Here’s a rudimentary definition:
Dribble Hand Off (DHO)- when the player setting the screen dribbles the ball towards another player before passing it.
But basketball is so much more than definitions. Check out this gif of Andrew Bogut, one of the best DHO passers in the NBA, passing the ball to Steph Curry.
Did you notice these coaching points?
- Shielding the ball- Bogut is great at positioning his huge frame to screen off defenders. He stance with is wide and he also stretches out with his arms when passing to create maximum separation.
- Waist height pass- Curry is sprinting at full speed so if he wants to pop it that ball better be right in his shooting pocket. Bogut gets creative with his passes but it’s always at waist height.
After receiving the ball out of the DHO, we see that Curry has many options available to him.
1. Shoot off the DHO- he uses the space created by the screen to shoot.
2. Passing to the screener- Bogut rolls to the rim and catches the pass.
3.Drive to the basket- he sees the defense sagging and attacks the rim for a layup or pullup.
4. Ball reversal- the DHO is well defended or maybe the weakside help defense is sleeping so he simply passes the ball to the weak side.
There are also a couple of extra options available for advanced players:
- Reverse drive- Curry sees the defense cheating by going too far around the screen and attacks the opposite side rather than curling.
- Screener rescreens- the on ball defender crowds Curry, so he simply stands still and waits for Bogut to rescreen and free him up.
Just looking at all these options you can see why DHO drives defenses crazy- you’re always giving something up when you defend them. Keep that thought in mind as you read through the plays for your offense.
Dribble Hand Off Plays
P.S The video at the top of the page also has all of these plays accompanied by videos. Go back to it if you want to see them live.
What makes it great: Early offense is awesome! Your team can flow straight into this play when the primary fast break is delayed. The Warriors use 12 Down to get great looks every time.
- 1 brings the ball up, 2 in corner, 3 and 4 spread out on weak side perimeter.
- 1 reverses the ball to the trailing 5
- 1 down screens for 2
- 2 gets the DHO from the 5 and attacks. 1 flares to the wing.
- If nothing is open, reverse the ball to the wing
- Instead of using the down screen, the 2 cuts backdoor. The 1 pops back out to use the DHO.
- The 2 curls around the 1 instead of using the down screen. The 1 pops back out to use the DHO.
What makes it great: This is another Warriors’ early offense staple that will force your opponents to pick their poison- backdoor layup or open 3.
- Same set up as 12 Down except that the 2 brings the ball up and the 1 is at the elbow, not the corner.
- 2 reverses the ball to the trailing 5
- 1 sets a back screen for the 2, who cuts to the rim. The first option is for the 5 to try and make the backdoor pass.
- If nothing is open, the 1 runs to the 5 for the DHO.
- The 1 can shoot or attack the basket.
- If there’s still no shot after the DHO, the 3 and 4 can set down screens for the 2 to cut to the top.
- If there’s still no shot, 1 and 5 play a 2 man game.
What makes it great: The Warriors are credited for making “the weave” famous, but this play has been fooling defenses in the European circuit. It’s keys are misdirection and speed to cover up the high ball screen and roll.
- Play starts in a 1-4 high set, with 1 bringing the ball up.
- The 4 pops out to the slot for a pass and the 1 follows it to the strong side corner.
- The 4 and the weak side 3 DHO up top.
- 3 and the strong side 2 again DHO up top.
- Finally, the 5 comes up for a high ball screen and attacks
- If your players are arranged in a 1-3-1 set, the 5 can screen for the 4 to come up and initiate the weave.
- After the high ball screen, the spacing also makes the defense vulnerable to a strong side backdoor cut.
Within Motion Offenses
NOTE: I’ve already broken down the Dribble Drive motion offense in this post, and I assume if you run it then you at least know it’s main rules and it’s 4 “zones”.
Kentucky’s offense is a great example of how to use the DHO to continue the motion after the initial 3 Out, 2 In action is well defended. Coach Calipari’s rules for triggering the DHO are:
- DHO after the ball is reversed to the top.
- If there are two players in the wing, the closest back cuts- if the ball is dribbled to you, back cut, is a fundamental rule to the dribble drive offense. The second player uses the DHO.
After receiving the DHO, the ball handler aims to get all the way to the “rack zone” for a layup or free throws.
This gif is an example of the motion Kentucky ran vs North Carolina in the 2011 NCAA tournament game. The entry play called is horns, but rather than making the entry pass the ball is reversed, eventually resulting in a DHO.
The Spurs also run the same weave play at the Warriors but within motion rules. They are:
- After handing the ball off, screen away and replace.
- If the weave is ended by a corner pass, trigger a sideline pick and roll.
This animation shows how that play unfolded. Note that as no one is rolling to the basket after the hand off, the lane is wide open for cuts after away screens.
I know many of your run motion so try adding these into your own offense to mix things up.