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2013 FIBA Americas: Canada Offensive Sets

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With the FIBA Americas tournament underway in Venezuela, with four spots available for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we’ll look at some offensive and defensive strategies from this tournament. Follow along on ESPN3. 

Canada opened up the FIBA Americas tournament with a 85-64 win over Jamaica that was close at two points in the second half, but Canada controlled most of the game. They showed that they will be reliant on offensive sets to get good shots and they may have the best executed offensive sets of any team in the tournament.

Zone Overload

With Jamaica opening up in a zone, Canada took quick advantage of this by getting Andy Rautins an open corner three. Once Canada recognizes the defense is in a zone, Cory Joseph passes the ball to Rautins on the wing and cuts through to the corner.


The left block defender sees this and points out the cutter. Joseph cuts through and receives the ball on the right wing. Tristan Thompson then initiates a ball screen against the zone while Andy Rautins cuts baseline behind Joseph.


Again, the left block defender points this out but this time, the right block defender has stepped up to the middle of the lane to help on the pick and roll. This leaves the corner open for Rautins.

This overload to the right side allowed Canada to open the game with a quick three and after another transition three, Jamaica quickly abandoned the zone defense.

Three Point Set 1

Once Jamaica showed their man to man defense, this allowed Canada to show their sets, several of which were executed and leading to open three point shots. This first set gave Andy Rautins another open three, one of his seven attempts in the opening game.

Joseph runs off Rautins which accomplishes two things; it allows Joseph to get open to receive the pass on the left wing and allows Rautins to find some space to set the first screen in the set. It’s not really a screen set by Joseph but the action leads to the same conclusion.

After Rautins find some space from his defender, he sets a cross screen for Levon Kendall. As the ball gets swung to Joseph, Kendall is available for a post up if the set is covered. The main option is for Rautins coming off a screen though and this screen gets the defense moving to give Rautins an opening off the second screen.


Joel Anthony made the initial pass from the top of the key to Joseph on the wing. He then steps inside the three point line and seeks out Rautins’ defender to set the screen to free Rautins. Rautins already has a step on his defender due to the initial screening action which gives him the advantage in curling off the screen.


This set of screens is simple but effective in getting Rautins open. Canada’s players go out and screen the defender instead of going to a space and letting the offensive player use the screen. This is effective (as long as they don’t get called for moving screens) and gets the Canadian players open off the screen.

The multiple cuts and screens forced the defense to move and switch, which gave Rautins the small amount of space he needed to come off Anthony’s screen for the open three point shot.

Canada Set Two

Canada ran this second set twice against Jamaica, once for Rautins and once for Brady Heslip. This set has the shooter running off a staggered screen for a three point opportunity. The set opens with Rautins running slowly along the baseline,below the first screener. Most teams have a single player on each block, to give the shooter an option of which way to run.

In this case, it’s clear that the play is designed to go back to the right. Therefore, Rautins has to lull his defender to sleep right before his cut to gain the necessary advantage. He also needs to make a quick cut off the first screen to get a step on the defender.


Rautins then runs off a staggered screen to get to the three point line.  Again, notice how the screener seeks out the defender instead of allowing Rautins to run off the screen. This still gets Rautins open, as the screeners are very good at freeing the offensive player. Andrew Nicholson does a good enough job on his screen to take the defender out of the play, so Thompson does not have to set a great screen as Rautins is already open.


The main key is the initial cut Rautins make before the first screen. He has to act like he is not the main option, as there is only one option for him to go. He needs to explode into the first screen to create separation off the second screen. Rautins did that in the first play and it lead to a wide open three point shot.

Canada executed some very nice offensive sets in their opening game. They have several NBA players and they should be one of the top teams left by the end of the tournament.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

August 30, 2013 at 11:05 pm

One Response

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  1. […] Canada found their offensive success through sets, Argentina’s offensive profile is built more around a free-flowing style of cuts coupled with […]

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