FSN's Mary Murphy Gives Her U.S. Bank 'Tip of the Week'

Feb. 7, 2007

Here is your 'Tip of the Week' from Fox Sports Net (FSN) basketball analyst and former college basketball coach, Mary Murphy.

Scoring can come from many different players and places on the basketball floor--a turnover converted into a lay-up, a missed shot is rebounded and turned into second chance points. A player gets fouled and makes a free throw. A player takes their match-up one-on-one and gets to the basket for two points. These are all outstanding opportunities that every coach, when their team has possession of the ball, would love to see happen.

However, to win games, teams need to establish an effective half-court offense. The most effective offenses are those that create movement, spacing and ultimately shots for those players who are the team's most effective shooters and scorers. The most basic element of today's offenses is the 'screen' or some coaches call it a 'pick.' The screen is effective, if used properly, because it frees the shooter for a few precious seconds to take an open shot or drive an open gap.

Today's tip is simply this...when watching the upcoming Pac-10 games, whether in person or on FSN, focus on the screens that are being set. There are tremendous shooters in the Pac-10 who only need an open look at the basket to nail a three-point shot. There are a variety of screens that can be set--a staggered screen, which means that teammates set a series of single screens in an attempt to lose the shooters defensive match-up, as the shooter runs off the stagger. A double screen can be very effective in freeing up a good shooter. Two screeners stand side-by-side as the shooter tries to run their match-up into the double-screen. A screen on the ball can create excellent opportunities depending if there is a switch in match-up or a miscommunication.

There is a game-within-the-game going on when a team is running its half-court offense. Focus on 'how' the offensive team is working to get shots and you will see just how often 'screens' are at the center of the offensive universe.

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