The Benefits Of Off Ball Movement

Off ball movement can make you dangerous on offense 100 percent of the possession, as opposed to only dangerous when the ball is in your hands. 

First let’s define what off ball movement is. Off ball movement describes itself, it is moving off the basketball in a way to put yourself in a position to score.

Why move off the ball?

Defenders are forced to follow you, which drains their energy, and you have opportunities to get easier shots without isolation. 

If you are static off the ball, meaning you are not moving and standing in one place, defenders do not have to move either. This allows defenders to rest. Off ball movement makes defenders work to get stops on defense.

You want your defenders to have to expend energy so they have a harder time on both ends of the floor due to fatigue.

What type of off ball movement is there?

Klay Thompson off ball movement


Cutting is an off ball movement that involves diving towards the basket. While diving, the purpose is to potentially have a step on your defender to where you can get a pass for a layup.

The move is so deadly because the layup is the easiest shot in basketball. The defender has no choice but to intensely follow you to the basket. Why? Because if the defender does not follow, he is giving up a high percentage shot.


Wrapping is an off ball movement that involves going behind a player with the ball in the perimeter area. The purpose of this movement is to get the defender on you stuck on the ball carrier, and to get you open for a three point or mid range jump shot.

Typically this is done in a handoff fashion, where the ball carrier hands the ball off to the shooter shoulder to shoulder. Then, while the defender is trying to close the gap, the ball carrier has given the ball up and can screen the trailing defender to free the shooter for an open look.

Lets go into screening off the ball now.

off ball handoff duncan robinson

Off of SCreens

Off ball screens are utilized for knockdown shooters to get open off the ball. Learning how to use an off ball screen can make you more deadly off the ball, and add more stress to an off ball defender. 

You can free yourself for a jumper or dive to the basket with an off ball screen. Essentially the off ball screens purpose is meant to get your defender off of you. This can be beneficial as if the team does not want to switch due to mismatches, you can be open free for an open shot. Miscommunication can also allow for an open shot with off ball screens. 

Off ball screens and utilizing them will make your off ball game more deadly and make your team’s offense more dynamic and involved.

duncan robinson handoff wrap

There are many different types of off ball screen plays, including the pin down, flare screen, and many others. All of them result in getting the screen setter and the offensive player who is receiving the screen in an advantageous offensive position.

Playing off the ball by setting your teammates screens can also put you in a position to score. Let’s say you set a screen off the ball for a shooter on your team. If both defenders do not want that player to shoot, they may hedge and attack the screen, where both of them are playing the shooter. That allows you to slip and dive for a layup, and your shooter can pass you the ball for an easy layup.

Examples of good off ball players that defenders hate chasing around are Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Duncan Robinson, JJ Reddick, and many others. What do all of these players have in common, they all are incredibly dangerous three pointer shooters. However, although they run around a lot, they get some of the easiest looks in basketball. 

What does this tell us?

Shooting skill keeps defenders close

To be an elite off ball player, you must be a knockdown shooter. This does not just relate to catch and shoot standstills either, but having the ability to catch and shoot off the dribble. To make players play you tight across the entire floor, you must be able to shoot. 

The greatest thing about being an off ball player is you can score without even dribbling. Players like Klay Thompson have scored 60 points on less than 10 dribbles the whole game. You do not need the ball in your hand to be effective. Not only that, but your teammates will look for you once they get accustomed to your hustle on the off ball movement. 

But, it gets even better. Players like Steph Curry are so elite at scoring off the ball, that the whole team gravitates to him, even when he does not have the ball. You can help your team immensely if your teammates have less attention. These are things that do not show up on the stat sheet, but are extremely vital for winning and strengthening an offense. 

To be a selfless, efficient scorer you need the elite off ball movement in your bag and in your ability.

Klay Thompson off ball player

Check out my other articles

If you want to get better at basketball, I have many other articles ranging from shooting improvement, athletic enhancement, and increasing your basketball IQ. Check them out on the blog section at the top of the page.

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