Perth Wildcats – Developing a Series Around Flex Action

By Sergey Tkachenko

The Perth Wildcats, the top team in Australia, uses the classic Flex action as the basis for a series with multiple options and counters.

The 2018-19 Australian NBL regular season is complete. It was the most competitive season in history of the league, with plenty of unpredictable results and close games. As it stands, Perth Wildcats came out of it on top with the best record, earning the #1 seed in the playoffs which begin Thursday, February 28th when they host the Brisbane Bullets.

Perth boasts arguably the most effective offenses in the NBL. The biggest part of the Wildcats’ system is based on a series incorporating the Flex cut. Indeed, some may say that the Flex is old-fashioned, but take a pause and study how Head Coach Trevor Gleeson utilizes the Flex series in Perth’s offense. In our latest edition of Plays of the Week email newsletter we discussed how the great spacing and timing combined with really solid execution is key – plus having several counters also helps. Let’s take a closer look.

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Flex Regular

This is your basic Flex set which is a staple of the Perth Wildcats offense. As is traditional, the player who sets the Flex screen immediately comes off a pin down (Flex STS). Never forget that strong execution of a basic set is the first step in creating an effective series! [Tweet this!]

Perth flex regular

Flex Empty Side PNR

In this set, Perth wants to play Empty Side PNR if they don’t have a good look after the initial action. Empty Side PNR is always a good situation, because there is no weak side helper who can bump the roller. Also, the simple exchange between 2 and 4 makes any help from the strong side very difficult.

Perth flex empty side pnr

Flex Side PNR Reject Hammer

This is a clever counter to the previous set. When the defense is expecting to defend the Side PNR action, 1 can reject it by driving baseline and forcing help from the weak wide. This creates a perfect opportunity to set a hammer screen to get an open 3pt shot in the corner. If the defense does cover the hammer screen though, then nobody is there to help under the basket, giving 1 and easy open layup.

Perth flex side pnr reject hammer

Flex Chicago

In this set, the Wildcats flow into Chicago action (pin down into DHO). It is also a good wrinkle to the Regular set, which works well if the defense not ready for this action.

Perth flex chicago

Flex Punch Stagger

This is a counter for a forward/center who plays well out of the low post position, both as a passer and/or scorer. X5 must help on the 5-2 Flex screen, so this a good opportunity for 5 to seal their defender and receive the ball in the post. As this occurs, Perth immediately sets a Stagger screen on the weak side to prevent extra help on 5, as well as to create opportunities for an open jump shot for 3.

Perth flex punch stagger

Flex Comeback

This a perfect Quick Hitter for 3pt shot out of the Flex series. It works especially well if x2 cheats (goes under) on the 5-2 Flex screen. Seeing this, 4 skips the ball to 2, who cuts back to the corner for the open look as 5 screens in x2.

Perth flex comeback

Flex Into Pin

This is a last play in this series. Here 2 comes off a pin down immediately after the 5-2 Flex screen, without setting another Flex screen for 3. When it comes unexpectedly, it is a very tough action to defend. If x4 overplays on the 4-2 pin down, then 4 slips to the basket for a layup.

Perth flex into pin

If you decide to build your own series around the Flex cut using some of these sets, be sure to take a look at these shooting drills to enhance a Flex offense!

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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:
January 14, 2018 – Brisbane, Quensland, Australia – Bryce Cotton of the Wildcats (#11) celebrates during the round fourteen NBL match between the Brisbane Bullets and the Perth Wildcats at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on January 14, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Credit Image: © Albert Perez/ZUMA Wire)

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