West Virginia screens to get the post open
Getting the ball to the block is a key part of any offense as it gets the ball in a great position to score while opening up the rest of the floor. Instead of relying on an individual getting open by themselves on the bloc, wee see West Virginia utilize screens to get an opening for their players in the post.
Block to block screens
One of the basic ways to screen for the post men is to go block to block. By setting a screen across the paint, it gives the player using the screen a brief opening to get to the block and get position to receive the entry pass. It forces the defender to navigate through several more bodies and that is usually enough to get the offensive player open.
By setting this block to block screen, it allows Kevin Jones an opening to get to the block and get position in the post, without having to work too hard. I am sure he could try to get position individually but he would exert a lot more energy than if he would receive a screen. Flowers doesn’t really have to get a piece of the defender (although he does), he just has to allow Jones to run off of him and get to the block.
You can see in that frame how Jones gained position on the defender. The defender got caught up in the screen and Jones was able to beat him to the block. Even if the defense switches this screen, Jones will still be able to put the defender on his back or seal him for a lob if the defender fronts the post. It is a simple screen that gets the post man open without making him overexert himself.
The second way we saw WVU screen to get the post open is with a back screen. This screen attempts to first get the cutter open on a backcut and if that fails, the player can duck into the post as the defender is recovering. Cam Thoroughman sets the backscreen for Mitchell, as the pass goes to Flowers on the left wing. Mitchell cuts through looking for the pass before he tries to post up the smaller Walker.
Kemba Walker fights hard through the screen to take away the back cut. As you can see, all the WVU players are above the foul line, which opens up the paint for the cut. It’s imperative that Walker fights hard through the screen to take away the back cut which would result in an open layup.
Walker saw the screen and worked to get over the screen to get between the ball and Mitchell. This results in Walker not really being screened and forcing Mitchell to run off the backside of Thoroughman. I don’t think this is that big of an issue, as Mitchell is going to get open in one of two ways – off the back screen if Walker gets screened or in the post if he doesn’t. By just running off a teammate, Mitchell is going to be able to get free one way of another.
As Walker is working to cut off the initial cut of Mitchell, Mitchell is able to use this to his advantage to duck into the post and get position on Walker. Walker is a bit off balance as he lunges to get a hand in the passing lane, and Mitchell is able to come around his right shoulder and gain post position. Also, by running this set for a post up, it clears out the help defense and allows Mitchell to go one on one with the smaller Walker.
This shows how a screen can help a player gain post position easier. While most players will be able to fight to gain position on the block, a screen reduces the effort needed to get the ball on the block and can be set up to take away the threat of a double team and let the offensive player go one on one in the post. West Virginia did this in several different ways and it ended in positive results both times.
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