“45” is a classic play that was often used by the late Flip Saunders. This is a tough play to guard because of all the actions that take place, as well as how those actions place certain players in positions to be successful. This article will feature a play diagram breakdown, as well as a video breakdown at the end of the article.
In the frame below you will see the basic action of the 45 set:
Option 1: 1 pushes the ball to the wing and looks to post feed 5. If the ball is entered into the post area, your team will play according to your post entry principles.
Option 2: 5 will hold their post for a “1 count”, and if they do not receive the ball will sprint to back screen for 2 at the top of the key. 1 looks to hit 2 as 2 cuts to the rim.
Option 3: Immediately after setting the back screen for 2, 5 will sprint to set a wing ball screen for 1. 1 must wait for the screen. It is imperative that 5 sets the screen low enough so that 1 is a threat to score should the defense go under the screen.
Option 4: If 1 is unable to score off the ball screen, 1 will look to pass to a rolling/popping 5.
Option 5: If 5 is not open, 1 will continue to dribble center the ball at the top of the key. As this ball is being centered, 2 will cut off a double screen being set by 3 and 4.
Hard to Guard Actions
Action 1: Back Screen/Ball Screen
The first action that is hard to guard that is an aspect of this play is the back screen/ball screen option. You can see this action highlighted below:
This action is hard to guard because x5 will most likely provide help on the back screen that is being set for 2, thus placing x5 in a hard position to recover and guard the pick and roll. It is for this reason that it is vital that flesh to flesh contact occur on the screen between 5 and 2. Most teams will guard this action by keeping x5 attached to 5 and electing to “tag” the cutter on the back screen with the defender of 3. It is for this reason that both 3 and 4 need to stay high on the back screen so that this help is harder to give.
Here is an example of x3 tagging the cutter (2) so that 5 can stay attached to 5 and prepare to guard the ball screen:
Action 2: Back Screen To Double Screen
The second action that is tricky to guard is the back screen followed by the double screen. This is especially tricky for x2 (defender guarding the cutter, 2) because the defender is being screened at the top of the key and then needs to recover and re-attach to player 2 in order to guard 2 effectively off the double screen. You can see this action highlighted below:
X2 will likely want to force the cutter to the inside of the back screen, but often times forcing 2 to cut in such a way will place x2 in a trailing/disadvantage position, thus making the action hard to guard. To make matters worse for x2, player 5 will turn their roll into a single screen, creating a floppy action for 2.
To make matters worse for x2, player 5 will turn their roll into a single screen, creating a floppy action for 2. 2 now has the choice of which way to cut (either off the double or off the single) depending upon how they are being guarded by x2.
To see all of the various options on video, as well as actual film of the options from the Detroit Pistons, please view the video below:
To get a PDF copy with the play diagrams, please CLICK HERE.