Zalgiris Kaunas: Winning Ways Part 3 – Spain PNR Series

By Sergey Tkachenko

Despite having the lowest budget among Euroleague Playoff  teams, Zalgiris Kaunas has succeeded with an efficient offensive style.

This is Part 3 of our series on Zalgiris Kaunas, covering Spain PNR sets. Read Part 1 on Horns Series and Part 2 on Iverson Series. Part 1 also includes a profile on head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius and his coaching style.

Spain Pick and Roll Actions

Often teams in Europe run simple Spain PNR in a stack position, so defenses are often ready for it and have tactics to stop it. Sarunas Jasikevicius, head coach of Zalgiris Kaunas, takes Spain PNR to the next level – he executes it in different formations with various players and positions, allowing for versatile and creative actions that are extremely difficult to guard. Let’s take a look at the most common types of Spain PNR sets from Zalgiris.

Click on a diagram to download it to your FastDraw library.

35 Horns Into Spain PNR

Zalgiris 35 Horns into Spain

This is a classic Spain PNR action, but out of Horns formation. This type of spacing helps avoid the defense switching between smalls (x3 taking 1 on drive, and x1 taking 3 on pop), which is common tactic to defend Spain PNR.

Side 54 Spain PNR

Zalgiris Side 54 Spain PNR

The next play is simple as well, ran from a spread ball screen alignment. Here we can see that the center sets the Spain back screen, and if it’s a good one, there’s a high chance of getting a lob from this action, as Zalgiris does in the clip below. It’s also important for 2 and 3 to be properly spaced to draw the help away from the rim.

Diamond Swing Spain PNR

Zalgiris Diamond Swing Spain PNR

This set has lots of movement before Spain PNR. The play starts with a “diamond entry” meaning a 5-1 Flare screen similar to mover-blocker offense (frame 1). Next, 2 swings the ball to 5 and then to 1 around the key. The play ends with Spain action from side PNR. Add an interchange between 2 and 4 on weak side to avoid help on the Spain action.

24 Rip Euro Spain PNR

Zalgiris 24 Rip Euro Spain PNR

This is possibly the most detailed play in all of Zalgiris’ playbook in terms of actions (and FastDraw frames). This play starts with 2 first setting a rip screen for 4, who catches in the post. Then 2 turns to set a down screen a for 5, who receives the ball near the FT line from 4. At this point, Zalgiris flows into with Spain PNR at the end of the side ball screen action.

Stagger Zip Spain BLOB

Zalgiris Stagger Zip Spain BLOB

In this final set, I wanted to share a creative way that Zalgiris uses Spain PNR in a baseline out of bounds situation. Play begins with a stagger into a zipper for the inbounder who catches at top of the key. Spain action ensues from here (frame 3) with 1 setting the back screen and popping, Having 3 and 4 cut through to opposite corners during this primary action offers some nice misdirection to distort the defense.

BONUS: Take a quick look at how the NBA’s Utah Jazz flow into Spain action out of a sideline out of bounds situation.

Jazz Spain SLOB

Check back for part 4 covering ATO and EOG plays from Zalgiris Kaunas.

View all of Sergey’s submitted plays on the FMS PlayBank, and follow his channels for more EuroLeague content:

Twitter: @seregatka4 | Instagram: @futurebasketballcoach | YouTube

More International basketball: Euro Ball Screen Entries | FIBA EuroBasket Horns Sets

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Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is based in Perm, Russia and is currently a scouting coach for BC Parma Youth Under 21 team. He is the youngest scout in his league. Before scouting, he played for the U16 and U18 Russian National Teams. Follow Sergey for international basketball content. Twitter: @seregatka4 Instagram: @futurebasketballcoach YouTube: FutureBasketballCoach Email:
KAUNAS, April 25, 2018 Kevin Pangos (R) of Zalgiris Kaunas breaks through during the third playoff of the Euroleague between Zalgiris Kaunas from Lithuania and Olympiakos Piraeus from Greece in Kaunas, Lithuania, April 24, 2018. Zalgiris Kaunas won 80-60. (Credit Image: © Alfredas Pliadis/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)

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