Creating Driving Lanes

By John Leonzo

With the emphasis on hand-check fouls and freedom of movement in basketball this year, it is wise to make penetration a large part of your offensive philosophy. Additionally, as the season goes on, games get tighter and tighter, and ball security becomes a vital skill for teams to possess. Creating a double gap within your offense is a great mid-season adjustment to help your team get to the foul line more and decrease the amount of turnovers as well. Be sure to read the whole way through the article to watch a video explaining the concepts, as well as download a PDF with teaching points and diagrams.

A single gap is created when there are two offensive players within 12 to 15 feet of each other on the perimeter. A double gap is created when there is an open perimeter spot between two offensive players. See the diagram below for a visual description.

Having a double gap creates a larger area for the on-ball defender to defend, and also makes for a longer closeout if an off-ball defender elects to help on the drive. Both of these factors give your offense a bigger advantage, making it more likely that you will score on that possession. Additionally, giving the defenders a larger area to cover increases the likelihood of a hand check foul, allowing your team to get uncontested shots with the clock stopped by shooting free throws. In order to make the increase the likelihood of a foul and decrease the probability of a turnover, it is wise for the penetrating player to land on 2 feet in the paint.

There are numerous ways to create double gaps in your offense. Some common ways to create a double gap can include (see PDF for diagrams):

  • Dribble Handoff Actions: By using a DHO around the top of the key and having the initial ball handler fill opposite of the handoff, a double gap is created. Be sure that the other perimeter players are spaced deep as this action occurs.
  • Ball Screen Actions: In the video below, you will see Kentucky using a wing ball screen to create a double gap (you can also see how a high ball screen creates a double gap here). You can also get a double gap out of transition by having the trailer ball screen for the point guard (drag screen). Again, be sure that the other perimeter players are spaced deep in the corner as the ball screen occurs. This video here shows great spacing of other perimeter players on a high screen and roll.
  • “Push” Action: Having the trailer sprint to the opposite corner can create a double gap in transition. As long as the wing players run deep corner, the point guard will have a double gap created where the trailer cut from.
  • Transition Pin Down: Having the PG reverse the ball to an athletic trailer and then setting a down screen can create a double gap for the trailer to drive. As the point guard screens away, the cutter will curl it to the opposite corner and the screener will pop to the ball side corner. The trailer then has a double gap drive with the only other player on the driving side being the point guard deep in the corner.

Here is a video explaining the concepts through examples from the Kentucky Wildcats, enjoy!

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Also, as promised, here is a PDF containing the teaching points of this concepts, as well as diagrams of how to create double gaps! To download the PDF, click HERE.

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John Leonzo

John Leonzo is the CEO of John Leonzo Basketball where he seeks to provide the highest quality training for both players and coaches. Through on the court training with players and online courses for coaches, John is able to make an impact in all the areas of the game.

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