The Drag Offense

By Randy Sherman

March11,2016:Baylor Bears guard Lester Medford (11) runs Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) into a screen set by Baylor Bears forward Johnathan Motley (5) during the NCAA Big 12 Championship Men's Basketball semi-final game between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas Jayhawks at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Kendall Shaw/CSM(Credit Image: © Kendall Shaw/CSM via ZUMA Wire)

The basic principles of the Drag Offense – a simple, seamless four-out ball screen offense.

Coaches are always looking for something simple and easy to install to use with their teams. The Drag Offense checks those boxes. It features simple rules, basic high ball screens plus it checks another important box – it can be seamless from your primary break.

Let’s start with the basic spacing which sets up seamlessly from a primary break in which 1 is the outlet, 4 is the trailer, 2 and 3 run the wings and 5 is the “rim runner.”

This most important spacing rule in “The Drag” is the post players must remain on a high-low diagonal from one another. 

The distinguishing characteristic of The Drag is the inside ball screen set with the ball in the slot and complimented with “roll and replace” action. The screener goes to the ball handler to set the ball screen and always sets the ball screen with the ball in the slot on the closed post side. When the ball screen is set in the slot, the low post should sink to the baseline. This allows room for the ball handler to reject the ball screen if that is the proper read. On a reject, the post being driven at would “banana cut” under the backboard to the opposite side.

When the guard accepts the ball screen, he/she has the options of:

  • Attacking the rim for the score
  • Hit the roll man rolling to the front of the rim
  • “Throwback” to the rising post player

Borrowing a concept from the Dribble Drive Motion Offense, if the ball handler cannot execute any of these options they “hockey stop” in the “drop” area and run a “kick up” with the guard lifting from the corner as pictured below.

After the kick up, the ball handler replaces to the corner. 

The kick up receiver (3) has the option to shoot or drive. They may also reverse to the post in the opposite slot, thus triggering the “change & exchange” rule. After any reversal across the slots to a big, exchange with the guard below you. (pictured below)

The high-post can look high-low for the duck-in or “spin and pin” as well. 

If 3 did not reverse and held the ball, 5 would come over and set the ball screen on 3 and the roll and replace action continues.

Reversal option – The high post may catch the reversal pass then fully turn it to the wing. That pass spawns a few more Drag rules.

After any slot-to-wing reversal coming from a big to a guard, there is a basket cut to the open block (pictured below). The guard must then fill to the ball side slot and the opposite big must rise to the slot to fulfill the diagonal and opposite rule.

Perhaps 5 cannot reverse to the wing and throws back to the player exchanging from the corner. They would simply follow into the ball screen following the rule of always setting the ball screen on the guard when he/she has it in the slot. The roll and replace action would then continue and the guard is looking to score, hit the roll player or execute a kick up with the guard in the corner.

The Drag Offense is an example of a simple offense that has a few basic movements and maintains great spacing. It can be run at any tempo and can flow from the break.

For more resources on The Drag Offense, check out this summary and also The Complete Drag Offense Playbook featuring the basics plus drive & space rules, post entry rules, breakdown drills, special entries and more.

Continue The Drag Offense conversation: 

For help with practice planning and implementation of The Drag Offense and seamless offensive attack, check out the RAMP program.

Any questions: Contact me. Happy to talk hoops any time day or night! If you would like to be added to the motion offense mailing list, email and let me know!

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Randy Sherman
Randy Sherman is the owner and founder of Radius Athletics - a basketball coaching consulting firm - where he consults with basketball coaches at all levels on coaching philosophy, practice planning, Xs & Os and teaching a conceptual style of basketball. While a head basketball coach at the the interscholastic level, Sherman's teams won 197 games in nine seasons.
March11,2016:Baylor Bears guard Lester Medford (11) runs Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) into a screen set by Baylor Bears forward Johnathan Motley (5) during the NCAA Big 12 Championship Men’s Basketball semi-final game between the Baylor Bears and the Kansas Jayhawks at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Kendall Shaw/CSM(Credit Image: © Kendall Shaw/CSM via ZUMA Wire)
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2 Comments

  1. Derek Johnson said:

    Would you say Villanova does some roll and replace action?

    • Radius Athletics said:

      They do for sure. Often they will hide Jenkins (a great shooter) under the rim and set the inside screen in the slot and roll screener and replace high with Jenkins. That gives them a throwback option and the rising player’s defender won’t “tag” the roll man because they are defending a shooter.

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