3-on-3 Basketball Plays to Score Easy Points (5 Plays)

3-on-3-basketball-plays

Playing 3-on-3 is a great way to learn HOW to play basketball.

And in today’s world, there are more opportunities to play it than ever before!

You can play 3-on-3 at school with a few friends…

You can sign up to one of the many 3-on-3 tournaments that are popping up everywhere…

And, if you’ve got a smart basketball coach, you’re probably playing many small-sided games (like 3-on-3) already during team practices.

But regardless of where you’re playing, I bet you want to give your team the best chance to win.

Am I right?

To help you with that, I’m going to show you five 3-on-3 basketball plays that you can take to the court and use to help your team get wide open shots and layups.

Let’s get started...

Five 3-on-3 Basketball Plays

1. Pick and Roll

Overview of the Play:

Two players use a pick-and-roll from the top of the key or on the wing.

Instructions:

3-on-3-pnr

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key, and one player on each of the wings.

  1. Player at the top of the key starts with the basketball.
  2. A player on the wing moves to set the pick-and-roll for the ball handler.
  3. The ball handler looks for scoring opportunities out of the pick-and-roll play, with the screener rolling towards the basket.

Coaching Points:

  • If the defenders switch on the pick-and-roll, try to use any advantage you have on the mismatches that open up.
  • If the defender guarding weak-side wing player moves to help on the roll, there could be a possibility for a pass to the wing or corner for the 3-point shot.
  • The screener can choose to “slip” which could result in a pass and layup or pass and outside shot.

2. Double Back

Overview of the Play:

This 3-on-3 basketball play involves multiple back screens in an attempt to get an open layup for a player under the basket. If they’re not open, post up opportunities will be.

Instructions:

3-on-3-double-back

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key with the basketball, and one player on each wing.

  1. 1 chooses the side to start the play by dribbling towards one of the wings.
  2. The player on the ball-side wing (2) cuts towards the opposite side to set the back screen for 3.
  3. 3 cuts to the basket off the back screen looking to receive a pass and finish if possible, while 2 pops out to the top of the key to receive the pass for a potential shot.
  4. If the pass inside for a layup or post up isn’t a good option, 1 passes to 2 at the top of the key.
  5. After making the pass, 1 receives a back screen from 3 and cuts under the rim to catch the basketball for an open layup.

Coaching Points:

  • Two players involved in the screen must watch the basketball at all times and look to exploit any advantages that might occur, either off the screen or after a mismatch.
  • Shot selection is crucial. The players must be patient, read what the best shot is, and be willing to pass up an ‘okay’ shot for a ‘great’ shot.
  • If the second layup or post up isn’t open, 1 can pop out to the wing and isolate the bigger opponent or the team can run a pick and roll.

3. Pin and Pick

Overview of the Play:

Wing players cut towards the paint and exchange sides on a cross screen. The screener will look to seal and receive a pass inside while the player receiving the screen will pop out to the perimeter. If the pass inside isn’t open, the ball is passed to the wing for a pick-and-roll.

Instructions:

3-on-3-pin

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key with the ball, and one player on each wing.

  1. With 1 in possession of the basketball at the top of the key, wing players (2 and 3) cut towards the low blocks.
  2. 3 screens for 2 under the hoop and then attempts to seal 2’s defender.
  3. At the same time, 2 reads the defense and cuts out to the wing.
  4. If the pass to 3 isn’t open, 1 passes to 2 and then sprints down to set a pick-and-roll on the wing while 3 clears out to the weak-side of the floor.

Coaching Points:

  • The first passing option 1 should be looking at is the pass inside to 3.
  • 2 can cut outside to either wing depending on how the defense plays the cross screen.
  • Make sure 1 is setting a strong screen in the pick-and-roll. Ball handlers aren’t often asked to screen, so some of their screens can be weak or easy to dodge.

4. Give and Go, Cross Screen

Overview of the Play:

Two players use a give and go action to start the play. If there isn’t an opportunity for the pass on the cut, the cutter continues and sets a cross screen on the opposite side of the floor.

Instructions:

3-on-3-gng

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key, and one player on each of the wings.

  1. A player at the top of the key (1) starts the play with a pass to the wing player (2).
  2. After passing the basketball, 1 cuts towards the basket attempting to execute a give-and-go play.
  3. If there aren’t any opportunities for a pass and finish, 1 turns to set the cross screen for the player on the weak side wing (3).
  4. 3 cuts off the back screen towards the basket to receive the pass and finish with a layup.
  5. At the same time, 1 attempts to seal 3’s defender on the screen, and could be open for a pass and finish if 2’s defender denies the pass to 3.

Coaching Points:

  • 2 must wait for a good opportunity to make the pass.
  • 1 must set a strong screen and seal the defender before opening up for the pass.
  • 3 must cut hard towards the basket, and if there’s no opportunity for the pass and finish, must clear the paint to create space for the pass to 2.

5. Ram Screen

Overview of the Play:

This is one of the most effective 3-on-3 basketball plays and involves a ram screen to create opportunities out of a pick-and-roll.

Instructions:

3-on-3-ram

Setup: One player starts at the top of the key with the basketball, and one player on each wing.

  1. 1 starts with the basketball at the top of the key.
  2. 2 and 3 cut towards the middle of the floor, with 3 cutting towards the low block while 2 cuts to the free-throw line.
  3. 2 turns and sets a screen for 3 on the low block and then clears outside towards the corner or wing after the screen.
  4. 3 cuts off the screen and sprints towards the top of the key to set the pick-and-roll for 1.
  5. 1 looks to create scoring opportunities out of the pick-and-roll, while 3 can roll towards the basket or pop out for a three-point shot.

Coaching Points:

  • The ball should be in the hands of the team’s best creator.
  • The purpose of the off-ball screen (ram screen) is to slow down the screener’s defender and make it difficult for them to provide help or switch the pick and roll.
  • Which is why it’s important for 3 to sprint to set the screen in order to create separation.
  • If the defenders do manage to switch on the pick-and-roll, use any advantage that comes from the mismatches created.
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