What Is a Down Screen In Basketball?


What Is a Down Screen?

A down screen is a play in basketball where a player sets a screen (usually a pick) below the free throw line for a teammate who is cutting or coming off a down screen. The purpose is to provide space and separation between the cutter and the defender.

Down screens often create opportunities for shooters or scorers to open off the dribble or catch-and-shoot. They can also free up space in the post or get a big man open for an easy basket.

There are many different ways to execute a down screen, but the most important thing is that the screener creates enough space for their teammate to make an effective cut. The screener should also be aware of where the defenders are and set a strong screen.

Tips For Executing a Down Screen

1. First and foremost, make sure you have a good, solid stance. You’ll be doing a lot of stopping and starting, so you need to be able to plant your feet and change directions quickly.

2. When the player who is going to set the screen sees his teammate coming, he should turn his body so that he’s facing the basket. This will give him a better chance of getting open for a shot himself if his teammate decides to pass him the ball.

3. The player setting the screen should get low and put his body between his defender and his teammate. He should make sure not to extend his arms or legs, as this will result in a foul.

4. As the player being screened comes around the screen, he should make a quick cut to the basket or an open spot on the perimeter. He should not slow down or stand still, as this will make his defender’s recovery easier.

5. After the screen has been set, the player who set it should roll to the basket or fade to the perimeter, depending on where his teammate is going. This will give his teammate another option if he’s being closely guarded.

When To Utilize

A few key times when using a down screen can be particularly effective in basketball. One is when a shooter is being tightly guarded and needs some space to get off a good shot. Setting it can give them room to get their shot off.

Another time it can be effective is when a team tries to free up a cutter or slasher. Setting a down screen can create confusion for the defense and open up driving lanes for the offensive player. Down screens can also be used as part of a team’s offense to generate space for shooters.

Courtesy of DICK’S Sporting Goods YouTube channel