What Are The Most Common Basketball Plays?

What Are The Most Common Basketball Plays

If you’ve ever watched a basketball game or played basketball yourself, you know that not every player plays in the same style, and certain techniques are utilized in games much more often than others. Have you ever wondered which plays are used most often in basketball games? Why are they the preferred techniques that many basketball players gravitate towards in games? Keep reading to find out.

How Many Plays Are There in Basketball?

There are an endless number of strategies in basketball, so it would be impossible to list them all out. However, there are some categories that basketball plays fall into, including:

Many basketball teams use several of these plays in a single game, depending on whether they want to shift to a more offensive or defensive strategy. Additionally, many strategies can be used in combination with each other when the team switches from one play to another to react to a situation in the game, such as adapting a 3-2 play to the 4-out offense and vice-versa.

The Basis of Common Plays

The most common plays in basketball consist of basic basketball moves. Using these moves in combination with each other can allow players to perform commonly used and effective plays in basketball. This is because they are the basis of more complicated plays, and can easily be adapted and worked from. These basic moves include:

The 21

One of the most popular plays in the NBA today is one that originated in the game’s early roots. In the early days, it was called the pistol, and in modern times, it’s known as the 21. It’s a three-player attack that begins with a pin-down screen to set up for a cutter, who then comes off that screen to receive a handoff. The 21 is popular because it allows players to run at least 15 feet into a shot and allows them to generate a variety of shots.

The Spain Pick and Roll

Another very common basketball play used in the NBA is the Spain pick and roll, a variation on the normal pick and roll that was inspired by a Spanish basketball game. It was a play utilized heavily by the Phoenix Suns throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs, with excellent results. This play is popular due to its difficulty to guard against, making it an effective offensive play.

This play consists of three parts: the screener, the shooter, and the ball handler. The screener, usually a big, will prepare to set up a middle ball screen for the ball handler. At the same time, the shooter will cover the screener’s defender and attempt to set a back screen as the screener rolls to the rim. The shooter will then hang by the perimeter of the court to look for an opportunity to catch and shoot. The ball handler will then leave the initial middle ball screen with three potential openings to shoot: they can attack the rim or go off the dribble, hit the screener as they aim for the rim, or hit the shooter as they pop to the perimeter.

The Princeton Offense

The Princeton Offense is a much looser freestyle play that was first pioneered by Princeton coach Pete Carrill. It is mostly unstructured, mostly utilizing screens and cuts and reading and reacting to the opposing team’s defense. It’s a popular play because it’s hard to defend against, leaves many scoring options open, and teaches players better game sense.

The Princeton Offense starts in a 2-2-1 formation. Two players are situated at the top of the key in the slot positions, one player is in each wing, and a player is in the low post on the ball side. From there, there are many paths a team can take based on their reading of the game and the other team’s defensive positions. There are three different common series that play off the Princeton Offense set: the low post series, the point series, and the chin series.