Edit 11/6/2017: Steve Alford shooting drills added! Check them out.
Today I’m breaking down the No.1 highest scoring offense for the NCAA 2016-2017 season: 2 out 3 in motion offense by Coach Steve Alford of the UCLA Bruins. Coach Alford took the Bruins to 3 Sweet Sixteens in the past 4 years. In his first year, he won the Pac-12 tournament championship, a feat not accomplished since 2008. If you’ve watched any of their games this year, you’ll see a very exciting fast paced style of play and with nearly all the players scoring in the double digits. If you’re got 3 big men who can score both facing up and in the post as well as handle the ball, this system is for you.
Since there are many variations to the 2 out 3 in motion, this is not a comprehensive breakdown of every set possible. My hope is just to provide the fundamental principles that will allow you to run this offense and allow you to add more to it.
- Rules for 2 out
- Rules for 3 out
- Building blocks
- Basic motion
- Special reads and counters
This offense is not easy. It depends on your players to read situations like:
- When defense switches on all screens
- Sagging defense
- Pressure/denial defense
- The 3 in’s reading how the guards are defended
- The 3 in’s ability to cut to high side, shout to the gap, flare, slip
This year, the bruins had a high firepower lineup consisting of:
Lonzo Ball 12.6p 4.6r 6.6a
Bryce Alford 9.6p 2.2r 2.0a
Isaac Hamilton 16.6p 4.4r 1.6a
T.J. leaf 16.0p 6.8r 2.0a
Thomas Welsch. 12.0p 8.2r 1.4a
The 2 out 3 in motion starts with a 2 guard front. This means 2 guards in parallel at the top of the key. The advantage of this is that you don’t need a great ball handler to bring the ball up, you can have 2 average ball handlers help each other.
The 3 in usually means 2 in the post and 1 player in the corner. Alot of the action happens with the 3 “in” players screening and cutting along the baseline for each other.
This offense is less about isolation but more on creating 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 situations. Just try to imagine lots of TRIANGLES forming between the inside player, guard and the player in the corner.
In this offense, you want to start inside out. This offense creates alot of opportunities to pass to the bigs inside and then kick it back out for open 3’s.
Rules for 2 out
Basically, you want to drive and kick to create oppurtunities. Also use screens set by your bigs for lots of bigs vs small pick and roll action.
- Stay outside the arc unless screened in
- Can cut when neccesary but must get out if no pass
- Get open, don’t stand
- Look to drive and kick
Just cross screen the heck out of each other down low.
- Don’t get into an existing triangle unless you are backscreened into it
- Read defense and move
- Screen and react
- Read the perimeter and how they are guarded
The offense is built upon forming triangles. These are the building blocks that get the ball into the high or low post to form the triangle. The 3 in’s must learn to read the defense and react accordingly.
High low cross screen
You don’t always need a screen. A quick flash to the high post will often get you a good look.
Remember, the key here is to form a triangle. When forming a triangle also consider who the opponent’s weakest defender or highest scorers are to exploit them or tire them out.
When you put all the building blocks together, this is what a basic motion looks like
- Start with 3 and 4 in the corners. 5 in the low block. The 2 guards on top
- 2 passes to 1. Which triggers 5 to back screen for 4.
- 4 reads the defense and cuts to the other side while 5 seals their defender. 1 can now pass to 4 or 5.
- If not, then reverse the motion on the other side. Now 4 cross screens for 3 and 1 passes the ball back to 2.
- In the last sequence, 5 drives baseline. Then 3 needs to flash high to create space.
- 5 can pass to 3 whilst 4 backdoors to the rim.
Isolation vs weak defender
If there’s a weak defender, you can use this to set up an isolation play.
- 4 and 5 cross screens for 3.
- 4 flashes high
- 2 passes ball to 3
- 3 has lots of room to go 1 on 1
Little on bigs
- 4 screens for 3
- 3 cuts to the paint then screens for 5
- 4 pops out to receive pass from 2
- 3 flashes high
- 4 has option to pass to 3 or 5
- 1 dribbles towards 3
- 3 recognizes this and curls around 5
- Whilst 4 sets a pick for 2
- 2 back cuts for a lob pass