Youth Basketball And The Two Man Game

Denver Two Man Basketball Training

What is  the Two Man Game?

The Two Man Game is something we feel Denver youth basketball players should learn to be effective at. The two man game involves a ball handler and another player, usually an on-ball screen setter, working together to make a play. The ball handler is generally a guard or small forward, and the screen setter is usually a forward or center. There are a multitude of options available in the two man game, and each of them can be effective. Let’s talk about some of the ways you can be effective in the two man game.

Pick and Roll

The pick and roll involves a player screening for a ball handler and then rolling hard towards the basket in hopes of receiving a pass for a finish. The pick and roll is good for freeing up ball a handling guard when he is playing against tough defender. It is also good for getting a screening player an easy shot attempt at the rim, and for bringing a shot blocking defender away from the paint. The pick and roll is great for getting layups for either the screener or the ball handler, and it is also great for getting other teammates open (due to the helping defense) for open three point shots on the wing or in the corner.

Pick and Pop

The pick and pop is similar to the pick and roll, however it involves the screening player flaring out to or around the 3 point line instead of rolling to the rim after setting the screen. Screening players who are better shooters than finishers enjoy the pop action instead of the roll. The pick and pop is in fact commonly used to get a screening player an open shot at the 3 point line. Sometimes you see small forwards acting as screeners in this scenario for that reason. A ball handler in the pick and pop can still get to the rim on the drive, as the pick and pop can open a bigger driving lane for him – remember that the screener will not be heading towards the basket and his defender may not either if he stays with his man.

Slipping the Screen

Slipping the screen is something that teammates who have good communication with each other can be effective in doing. When the screening player comes to set the pick, instead of staying and allowing the ball handler to use him he cuts toward the basket and looks to receive a quick pass. This catches the defense off guard, as they will usually be looking to negotiate the oncoming screen. Slipping the screen works when the screening player’s defender over-helps and doesn’t maintain his position between his man and the basket. When this defender hops on the side of the screener to help defend the ball handler, it creates an opening for the screener to slip and cut to the basket. A tandem that has established good pick and roll/pop play earlier in the game might see the opportunity for slipping the screen as the defense over-adjusts.

Dribble Handoff

The dribble handoff normally occurs when a big man has the ball on the perimeter and he’s trying to get the ball back to a ball handling guard or wing. The big man dribbles over to the guard to make a safe exchange with the basketball, but this can turn into more than just an exchange. The dribble handoff can quickly and easily turn into two-man scoring action. A big guy can act as screener on the handoff and create an open driving or shooting opportunity for the guard. A big guy can also fake the handoff if his defender is over-helping and create a 3 point shooting or driving opportunity for himself. The false dribble handoff can be a really effective scoring tool for big guys.

The Two Man Game can be pretty effective for youth basketball players, but can take a lot of practice individually and with a teammate for players to get comfortable with. Contact your local basketball trainer to help you learn the nuances of this great offensive weapon!