Do you want to improve off-ball movement? One of the best ways is to learn how to set and use off-ball screens. This is a play that’s rooted in the Warriors’ system.
For a small dude, Steph Curry is really good at setting screens.
This job, traditionally, is reserved for big players (ala his former teammate, Andrew Bogut). But the Warriors aren’t necessarily a traditional team.
That’s why their star point guard can often be seen picking off-ball screens for teammates and pinning opponents down.
An example of this can be seen in a game from 2018.
It was October 22 and the Golden State Warriors hosted the Phoenix Suns.
Late in the third quarter, Curry runs one of his patented plays where he screens for one of his teammates to dupe the defence, then runs through a screen set for him, where he somehow lands in a spot for a perfectly good shot.
Though this play is common, he also has other patented off-ball screen plays that he uses.
He also sets a lot of screens where the goal is to get the ball to an open teammate (he’s not the only player that can shoot on the team, ya know?).
During the Western Conference Finals in 2015, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr explained why the off-ball screen is the perfect play for Curry.
Via Sports Illustrated:
“The thing with great shooters is often times they make the best screeners,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Game 1. “So it’s just something we’ve done—we have a lot of plays where both Steph and Klay [Thompson] set back screens and then come off down screens. It’s nothing complicated…Defenders are afraid to leave Steph, as they should be because he’s coming off screens constantly. If we can get an angle then every once in awhile we can pop somebody loose when Steph sets a screen.”
Why Does Steph Curry Screen So Much?
Why do Curry and the Warriors run so many types of screen plays?
The main reason is to get players open.
The second is to encourage off-ball movement (and hence ball movement), which rattles and discombobulates the defence.
It’s one of the best ways to keep the offence flowing, like a stream that eventually leads to a rapid river because the Warriors just dump points and more points on you and you can’t seem to stop them!
Sorry, I was playing NBA 2k earlier and I clearly had a rough game against Golden State.
Why Off-Ball Screens Are Important
Anywhoo… why is this important?
Off-ball movement is important because you don’t want your offence to be stagnant.
When it’s stagnant, the defence will be able to settle in and predict your moves. They’ll be able to get into positions that’ll force you to take challenging shots.
Your lack of off-ball movement will make the defence’s job easier.
However, if there’s lots of flow to your offence, the D can’t predict what you’re going to do.
They’ll also not be able to set into dominant defensive positions because you’re constantly cutting, working to get open, and freeing up teammates.
All of the movement will also tire your opponents out quicker.
How Can You Practice Off-Ball Movement
The best ways to practice off-ball movement and screens are with:
- Chair Drills (Read this blog post I wrote on what are and how to do chair drills)
- Using your imagination as you shoot around or practice by yourself
- Scrimmages and in-game experimentation
I want to add that developing a well-oiled, flowing offence requires you to know your personnel.
You need to have good chemistry with your teammates to make off-ball screens and movements run well.
So, even though you can practice by yourself, it’s way more effective to do so with some teammates or friends.
Thus, the best way is with scrimmages, though the other two methods can work. They’re just not as effective.
Additionally, you should do push-ups (or some type of push exercise) to strengthen your upper body. This will make it easier for you to fight through the traffic and get open.
Learn how Steph Curry does it and its effectiveness here.
Steph Curry, in today’s game, is the best at moving without the ball.
His I.Q. for using off-ball screens to get points up on the box score is second-to-none.
This is one of the key reasons why he is able to score so much and why the Warriors are so phenomenal.
Thus, if you want to put up points like Curry and, more importantly, have an unstoppable offence, learn to use off-ball screens.
P.S. If you’re struggling to get better at basketball, you may be doing something wrong.
This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guides and Planners. They’re convenient training systems that will help you work on your fundamentals and conditioning.