In basketball, a screen, also known as a pick, is a technique used by an offensive player. It is meant to block the path of a defender by getting in his/her way with the screener's body. An off ball screen is a screen set on a defender who is not guarding the ball, used to get the screen's receiver open. In the same way a player sets a ball screen, the screener must choose the right angle to make contact, spread his/her feet for a wide base, come to a complete stop, and cover him/herself with his/her arms.
To effectively use an off ball screen, a good offensive player will first manipulate the defender into running into the screen. As the screener runs to get in position, the offensive player receiving the screen can either get in close to the defender and make contact, or take a step in a different direction before coming back and using the screen. The former will make it more difficult for the defender to follow the offensive player because the defender will not have as much time to react to the move. The latter will force the defender to at least acknowledge the fake move as an actual attempt to receive the ball, putting him/her off balance. These two techniques can be used in tandem to better set the defender up.
When the offensive player comes off the screen, his/her shoulder should rub against the screener's shoulder. This will eliminate any space for the defender to go over the screen and stick with the offensive player. Instead, he/she must go under the screen, which can create an opportunity for an open jumpshot. Conversely, the defender will follow behind the offensive player, which can give him/her an open lane to drive to the basket. Once the offensive player comes off the screen, he/she should make the cut quickly to create more space between him/her and the defender.
An offensive player using an off ball screen has a few options. Each one is meant to separate the cutter from his/her defender as much as possible. So, the offensive player will have to read the defense to make pick the best option for the situation and create the most space.
First, he/she can run a straight line cut coming off the screen. This is best if the defender gets hung up on the screen and cannot make his/her way around it. A straight line will separate the cutter from his/her defender more than any other cut.
He/she can also curl off of the screen. This means running around the screen toward the ball on a curve, either cutting to the basket or closer to the perimeter. This kind of cut is effective when the defender is following the offensive player over the screen, meaning the defender will have a difficult time getting back in front of the offensive player.
Another option for the cutter is to fade. Rather than running past or around the screener, he/she can get to the screener and then bounce outside to the perimeter, away from the ball. A fade works best when the defender sees the screen coming and tries to go underneath it.. By fading outside, the defender will still have to make his/her way past the screen to reach the offensive player.
Additionally, the cutter can use a back cut. Once he/she gets to the screen, he/she can decide against using it and simply cut back toward the basket for a layup. This cut should be used when the defender is playing especially aggressive defense and is not giving the cutter much room to move freely. If the defender attempts to go over the screen early, a back cut will take him/her out of the play.
Numerous kinds off ball screens exist to get cutters open. The cutter will still need to read the defense to make the best decision, but many of these screens are designed to get the ball to the cutter in a specific spot.