Flex Offense verse Zone Defence; Variation Screener Pop

Typically those coaches utilising the Flex strategy will change into a different tactic when they face zone defence. This is because the Flex offense traditionally in its standard form struggles with the challenges posted by a lack of defensive movement and spacing on the court.


However there are some Flex offense variations which can be utilised as viable options in dealing with the issues normally experienced against a zone defence. The primary problems for Flex against a zone are:


  • The primary cut in flex does no result in player movement while the ball is above the foul line extended
  • The main scoring options initially in Flex offense happen in the areas closest to the baseline which is often some of the most heavily populated areas in many zone defences
  • Flex struggles in many cases to overload a side of the floor forcing the zone defence to condense and guard multiple targets and passing angles
Flex Offense Variation Screener Pop Diagram 1
Flex Offense Variation Screener Pop Diagram 1

Guard to guard pass is made (One to two).


Five (5) sets screen for Three (3).


Three (3) cuts over screen to strong side low post.


Five (5) after setting the screen for the cutter “Flash” cuts to the split line on the foul line.


One (1) replaces the cutters position.


Scoring Options,


  • Flex cutter (Three)
  • Flare to long corner for perimeter shot (One)
  • Flash cutter (Five)
Flex Offense Variation Screener Pop Diagram 2
Flex Offense Variation Screener Pop Diagram 2

If there is no scoring opportunity Five (5) replaces perimeter player and play can resume.


If playing against a zone defence Five should delay the “Pop” to the foul line and onto the perimeter.

Flex Offense Variation Screener Pop Diagram 3
Flex Offense Variation Screener Pop Diagram 3

An alternative for this flex variation which is viable against a 2-3 Zone Defence is instead of the player flaring that Two (2) can dribble to the strong side foul line extended.


From this position the Two (2) has a number of options:


A pass can be made into the Five (5) below the broken circle; from this position the five will have a shooting opportunity or draw a defender from around the basket and look for the pass into one of the receivers spots (Three or One)

A pass can be made into Three (3) in the low post; Three can then look to draw defenders and then find a team mate in a receiver spot (Five or One). In this position the best post play will likely happen from facing up to the basket

The Pass can be made into the strong side lone corner to Four (4); This force the baseline players to rotate to guard the ball and also the now filled wing position (Two)


A point of note when facing a zone defence; the lift after the screen by Five (5) needs to be delayed so there is a reduction in the probability of a three second call.


The value for this variation of the Flex offense is that it can be conducted against man to man defences and zone defences alike. This provides an opportunity for teams to move seamlessly into the offense no matter the offense being faced.


Additionally, because of the options with regards to use this offense against man to man defences the play will service to also bolster a team’s offensive playbook.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

2 Comments on “Flex Offense verse Zone Defence; Variation Screener Pop

  1. I am looking for play diagrams of the Flex “run” at the foul line area …. The offensive players stay above the foul line “extended” area …..

  2. So, the “Flex” action you are looking for is run in a specific court area. If the screening elements move higher, their names will change. I would suggest broadly screening away is where you are going to find some of the similar patterns you are looking for in regards to flex. Other types of cuts could include Iverson or Zipper.

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