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Offensive Basketball Plays: Formation Offense 3-on-3

The following offensive basketball plays all utilize a 3-on-3 formation, effective in a 3 on 3 game or tournament.


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There are a few plays on this page, so please scroll down to read all the way through. Each play is accompanied with pictures and descriptions.


In the diagrams, the dotted line shows the direction the ball travels, while solid lines represent movement of the players...  



Offensive Basketball Play #1: SCISSORS

Player 1 and 2 will cut through each other path letting their defenders bump against each other.


First 1 passes to 3 and cuts to the basket.


At the same time 2 makes a move and also cuts to the basket, to make their paths cross timing betweem player 1 and 2 is extremly important.

In this case 3 gives an overhead pass to 1 for the easy lay-up.

 Offensive Basketball Play #2: SCREEN-AWAY


Player 1 passes to player 2 and sets a screen away from the ball for player 3.


After the pass player 1 looks to be going for the give and go, but sets a screen for player 3.


Player 3 prepares for the screen moving inside setting his/hers defender up for the screen.

Player 3 uses the screen of player 1 and goes to the middle of the bucket.


Player 2 should remember that this is a tripple threat situation. In this case he passes the ball, but a jump shot or a move to the basket for a right handed lay-up are also possible.


After the screen player 1 should roll off to the ball first at the sametime blocking his/hers own defender.

Player 3 gets the ball and takes the short jumper.


Offensive Basketball Play #3: SPLITTING-THE-POST

It starts with a pass from 1 to 3.


1 and 2 will start a cutting move at the same time. As with the scissors timing is very important.

While protecting the ball 3 can make a pivot move to set a screen for 2 and 1.


1 and 2 split the post by cutting towards 3.


If 1 or 2 can grab the ball out of the hands of 3 they should do so.


The post however should not give a little hand off pass. Little control and quick defenders make this a not so smart move.


While player 3 pivots to face the basket (watch your pivot foot), 1 and 2 cut to the basket.


Player 3 has three options. 1) pass the ball to 1 2) pass the ball to 2 3) take a shot.

In this case the ball goes to 1 who makes the lay-up.


Offensive Basketball Play #4: WEAVE

Player 1 makes a dribble to get a better passing angle.


Player 2 makes a V-cut to receive the ball.

Player 1 passes the ball to player 2 and sets a screen on the defender of player 1.

Player 2 uses the screen of 1 and dribbles to the top of the bucket to get a good passing angle for the pass to 3.


Player 3 makes a v-cut to get open.


After the pass player 2 sets a screen on player 3.


Player 2 should not forget to look for his own chance and the pass back to 1 who has rolled to the basket or to the outside.

3 uses the screen of 2 and drives to the basket and makes a lay-up.


Player 2 rolls to the basket and player 1 goes for the rebound.


In this case after only 2 passes the player goes for the basket. During a real game you might have to pass 5 or more times to get the defense tired and make the basket.

Offensive Basketball Play #5: BACK-SCREEN

1 passes the ball to 2.


3 comes high for the backscreen.


At the same time 1 sets up the screen by faking the give & go.


If the defender of 1 doesn't do a step towards the ball 1 takes the give & go.

1 uses the screen of 3 to get free under the basket for the pass from 2 and the lay-up (dunk).


If the defender of 1 goes to the middle of the bucket, making the pass difficult, 1 should go to the corner of the court for a skip pass of 2 and a (3 point) shot from the side line.


3 rolls, after the screen, first towards 2 (the ball) and then the basket.


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