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HORNS OFFENSE

Many professional, collegiate, and European teams are looking to take advantage of big men who are much more skilled than they were just a few short years ago.  The offense of choice has become the Horns offense.  This offense relies on having two big men who can execute basic offensive fundamentals effectively and a point guard who can run the team on the floor.  It also has been a help to coaches who look to take advantage of player abilities while retaining some degree of control.

Advantages of the Horns Offense

The primary advantage of the Horns offense or any set play offense is that it can be used to set up entries into any other offense.  For example, say a team wanted to run the Flex offense and needed a way to get into the offense in a half-court setting.  The Horns offense allows for multiple looks and plays.  Later in this piece, you will be able to see how you can get into an offense like the Flex offense.

The second advantage of this offense is that it allows the team to take advantage of skilled big men.  For this offense to succeed, bigs have to be capable of playing away from the basket and having a skill set not unlike that of a perimeter player.  He needs to be a threat to face up to the basket and shoot the mid- or long-range jumper and put the basketball on the floor.

The final advantage presented is that the Horns offense can effectively utilize a point guard if he is the best player on the team.  For example, many NBA teams have been running the Horns offense to take advantage of great point guards.  The best example is the Phoenix Suns who have been running this offense for Steve Nash.  Nash is able to take advantage of his playmaking skills within the framework of the system.

Disadvantages of the Horns Offense

In some respects, the Horns offense is similar to the 1-4 High offense.  However, as opposed to the 1-4 High offense, this offense has fewer entry options.  This is because the wings are located in the corners and not at the free throw line-extended.  This prevents certain entries from taking place that would normally take place in a 1-4 High offense.

As mentioned earlier, this offense requires skilled big men.  If your team has a big man who struggles with jump shots or with the dribble, this may not be the offense for you.  Bigs need to be capable of shooting from distances greater than most other offenses allow and be good ballhandlers.

Pinch Post Series

Each of the series presented have a basic maneuver that has to be executed for the basic play to work.  The first series is the Pinch Post Series.  Here, the point guard is going to enter the basketball to the high post and the ball-side wing will cut backdoor as shown in Diagram 1.  This is used to clear the side to set up the handoff between the post and the point guard as it will be shown in the remaining diagrams related to this series.


Diagram 1

From the Pinch Post Series, there are three plays that can be run from it.  The first is the help-side stagger double shown in Diagram 2.  Here, #2 will set the first screen of the stagger double for #3 if he does not get the ball on the backdoor.

As with any pinch post entry, If #1 does not get the handoff, he will cut back to the wing on his side.


Diagram 2

The next play is a help-side flex play (Diagram 3).  Here, #2 will set the back screen for #3 who will make the baseline cut.  After this, #5 will set a down screen for #2.


Diagram 3

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