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Laker Film Room: Guide to the various off-ball screens the Lakers use

The Lakers utilize a variety of off-ball screens in their sets. In this post, we’ll break down the various terminology to describe them.

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Part one of my series on basketball concepts and terminology focused on how to read basketball play diagrams, and how they’re used to communicate between coaches and players. In part two, we delve deeper into that language to focus on the various types of off-ball screens that the Los Angeles Lakers use.

Let’s take a closer look:

Rip Screens - Back screens off of the ball. Often used on the lob plays that the Lakers run for Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.

Hammer Screens - Weak-side back screens. The Lakers usually run these as set plays out of timeouts.

Wide Pindowns - Down screens where the screener faces his teammate in the corner. Designed to maximize spacing. The Lakers usually run these in early offense.

Stagger Screens - Similar to Wide Pindowns, but with two screeners.

Ram Screens - Also know as “screen the screener.” The Lakers run a play where (usually) their 2 sets a ram screen for the 4, who then sets the ball screen for the 1. As that’s happening, the 2 pops out to the corner while receiving a screen from the 5.

Elevator Screens - When two screeners converge after their shooter has gotten through to “shut the doors” on the defender. The Lakers run these most frequently on sideline out of bounds plays.

Cross Screens - Set with the screener’s back to the opposite sideline, intended to allow the teammate who’s receiving the screen to cut across the paint. The Lakers did a terrible job of scoring off of these last season, but LeBron James is phenomenal at making those reads so that should improve in 2018-19.

And yes, this video is a subtle way of me saying that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is valuable to the team despite the dumb stuff that he sometimes does, because of his ability to shoot while coming off of screens. Thank you for noticing.

The goal of Laker Film Room is to create content that helps you enjoy the game on a deeper level. If you’d like to support that work, you can do so on Patreon or Venmo.

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