When a team is behind by three or fewer points and has a time out in a last possession situation, specific issues may arise. The biggest concern is getting the ball to the player who has the best chance of making the play. Coaches must keep in mind that whatever play is run must work against all types of defenses. Therefore, if the defense denies the player who is supposed to receive the pass, the other players must be alert and available for the inbounds pass.
If the game clock shows 4 seconds or fewer, the player receiving the inbounds pass MUST make the play. His teammates should flatten out toward the baseline and corners and not obstruct him. Four seconds is plenty of time to catch, face up, and dribble a time or tow before shooting. The ball handler does not have time to run a play or gamble on a pass that may be deflected, bobbled, or mishandled.
If the clock is between 5 and 10 seconds remaining, the player receiving the inbounds pass has time to run a pick-and-roll, looking to penetrate for the shot or a draw and kick. These X-Out plays can be used in both situations — assuming the player can create his own shot.
The diagram above shows the set up prior to the basketball being inbounded. The 4 plays below all start from the same setup.
X-Out Play into 1-4 Low
Down 2 points, :04 or less on clock.
This ‘play’ is the basic play in the X-Out formation. Enough time is available for O1 to create his own shot but probably not enough time to make a pass.
- O1 lines up under the basket and O5’s downscreen to get open at the top of the key area.
- O2 and O3 line up just above the three-point line as shown. O3 cuts first and goes to the ball-side corner. O2 cuts off O3’s back and goes to the weak-side corner.
- After O2 and O3 make their cuts, O5 turns and sets a down screen for O1. After setting the screen, O5 rolls to the weakside low block. O1’s job is to get open by going either way off O5.
- O4 inbounds the ball and dives to the same-side low block to rebound.
X-Out Play into Pick and Roll
Down 2 points, :05-:10 on the clock.
- When O1 clears O5 and O4 inbounds the ball, O5 relocates to the top of the key and sets a screen for O1. O5 then rolls for a spot-up shot.
- The teams best shooter spots up in the corner to the side O1 will drive (in this diagram, it is O2).
- The offense is down by two points, so O1 looks to turn the corner and attack the basket.
- O1 has three options: his drive, a pass to O5, or a pass to O2.
This X-Out option is designed to get the best shooters in the corners, with the point guard penetrating for the layup or for a draw and kick. It may be wise to place your best penetrating or finishing player in the position of O1.
You will also want to know which players strengths can be best utilized. For instance, in this situation where the pick and roll will be going to the right, you will want a player in that position who is good at driving and shooting by going to his right. If the ball was being taken out on the other side of the floor, the player at O1 may be different because the drive would then be going left.
Three Point X-Out
Down three points, :05-:10 left on the clock
This play begins in the same manner as the ‘X-Out into Pick and Roll’; however, a three-point basket is needed to tie the game. O1 can use a couple of options here:
- After using O5’s on-ball screen, O1 may be open for the three-pointer at the top of the key.
- If that shot isn’t open, O1 should continue penetrating in an attempt to draw O2’s defender and then kicking it out to O2 for the three-pointer.
- O1 may also look to O3 who is coming up to the weakside wing off of a screen from O5 (after setting the on-ball pick, O5 will dive down and screen for O3’s defender).
X-Out into Single-Double
Down three points, about :10 left on clock.
- In this X-Out version, O1 dribbles to the wing instead of penetrating to the basket.
- As O1 dribbles to the wing, O3 and O4 set a staggered cross screen for O2.
- After O2 clears the screens, O5 sets a down screen for O3, who cuts to the top of the key.
- O1 passes to O3 who can shoot the basketball or rotate it immediately to O2 for a three-point shot.