Pin Down Series: How Real Madrid Creates Open Shots

By Sergey Tkachenko

Down screen, pin down or coming off screen – whatever you call it, Real Madrid creates numerous open looks with the action.

The reigning EuroLeague Champion, Real Madrid, are looking for a second title in a row. This season the squad is off to a great start in league play, currently sitting in second place just behind Fenerbahce Istanbul. Real Madrid have strong, balanced roster, but what makes it unique? How about having some of the best shooters in Europe in Jaycee Carrol, Fabien Causeur, Rudy Fernandez and Klemen Prepelic. Head coach Pablo Laso really plays to this strength in running an offense that creates “coming off” or pin down/down screen situations for his shooters. Lets take a closer look at some of these specific sets from the team in the Spanish capital.

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Real Madrid – Pin Down Series

Horns Pop DHO Double Exit

This is the one of the most used plays in Coach Laso’s playbook. It involves a lot of movement and misdirection, which ends in a “double exit” situation for 2, who can fake or drag his defender to create 2-on-1 situation, when coming off screen. If the defender goes under, 2 makes him pay with a jumper. If the defender chooses to lock and trail, this is a shot or curl to the basket. And if the screener’s defender helps, then it’s an easy slip or pass into the post for the mismatch.

Real Madrid horns pop dho double exit
1-5 PNP, 5 plays DHO with 3, Double Exit action.

Triple into Stagger

This play looks very simple at first. But as we take a closer look and imagine 2 coming off the triple screen, if he can’t shoot he curls around and comes off the stagger screen. In the end, x2 must defend five screens in one possession against a really good shooter – eventually, there will be a mistake to create an opening.

Real Madrid Triple into Stagger
2 comes of a triple screen, then 3 comes of a stagger and gets the ball from 1. 2 uses a stagger screen to get an open look.

Horns Dive Wide Pin

This a quick hitter out of Horns formation. Here Real Madrid create an open space on top of the court for playing coming off, or pin down, situation. If 3 can’t shoot immediately after the catch, he could attack downhill or play a top PNR with 5.

Real Madrid horns dive wide pin
5 sets a wide pin down for 3 after 1-5 PNR, 4 makes a cut to the strong side corner, 2 runs to opposite corner.

Horns Comeback

For what it’s worth, this is my favorite set play in Real Madrid’s playbook. Very unusual set with lots of misdirection, often leading to an open look for RM’s shooters. The first option here is to play a ‘comeback screen’ for 2, in which 5 immediately turns and sets when 4 initially has the ball in the corner. The counter is to play a stagger screen for 3 coming from the weak side, set by 2 and 5.

Real Madrid horns comeback
4 sets a wide pin down for 2, who then plays DHO with 1. 1 passes to 4 and spaces out to the weak side. 1st option: comeback screen for 2. 2nd option: stagger screen for 3.

53 Floppy BLOB

This is the most used inbound set play by Real Madrid as it includes several options. The first option is to use 5-3 back screen, because if x5 does not bump 3, it is immediately two points under the basket. The second option is a pass to 5 who then looks for 1 coming off a wide pin down set by 4. The play ends with Floppy action, where 2 and 3 comes off down screens from 4 and 5. Also see the final frame, where 2 and 3 have the option to screen for each other before using the pin downs.

Real Madrid 53 Floppy blob
5-3 back screen, 5 gets the ball on the 3pt line. 1 comes off 4’s pin down to get the ball from 5. Floppy action to finish.

BONUS: Real Madrid Early Offense set from Kostas Kalogeropoulos!

Transition Flash

Real Madrid transition flash

More from Sergey Tkachenko: All Plays & Drills | All Blog Posts | Zalgiris Kaunas Offensive System

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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:
June 3, 2018 – Madrid, Community of Madrid, España – Real Madrid’s Rudy Fernandez (C) in action against Herbalife Gran Canaria’s Xavi Rabaseda and Nikola Radicevic during the Liga Endesa first semifinal series match between Real Madrid and Gran Canaria at the Wizink Center in Madrid, Spain, 03 June 2018. (Credit Image: © Kiko Huesca/EFE via ZUMA Press)

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