Moving without the Basketball

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Moving without the Basketball to get an Open Shot

moving without the basketball

Written By Lamar Hull @ Google+

Don’t you hate when a coach tells his player to deny you the basketball? 

Is it your fault that the other team is aware of your basketball talent? Actually, it is and that’s a good thing! Keep working hard!

I’m going to teach you how to move without the basketball, so when you have a nagging opponent, you know how to get open and do your thing on the court.

Basketball is considered a game of movement, spacing, and change of speed. By doing these things effectively on the offensive end, you are able to score against a contested hand. There are opportunities to get wide open shots while moving without the basketball. Using screens and making the proper cuts can help you get open and get the ball. 

How to Get Open Shots using Screens

In order to get open shots you will have to use various types of screens and cuts. You will need to use cuts and screens on the offensive end while moving without the basketball. Once you truly perfect how to use screens and cuts, you will be able to get open shots!

Here are a four tips to help you score more points by moving without the basketball!

The first tip you need to know is, before using a screen you should set your man up. What do I mean setting your man up?

By understanding your purpose on the court and having a high basketball IQ, you should know when an offensive screen is coming. In this case, you want to make your defender think you are going one direction and then you set him up for the screen by changing direction and taking the screen.

The next step is to rub shoulder to shoulder with the screener, so that the defender can’t squeeze through. This will allow you to keep your defender off balance and give you more open space to operate. This strategy is a part of moving without the basketball!

The second tip that will help you get open shots is understanding your opponent’s defensive strategy.

For example, if the defender cheats and goes over the screen, you would want to fade away from the screen to get an open shot. Another example would be, the defender is on your coat tail and is chasing you around the screen, keep cutting towards the basket because you may get an open lay-up. 


The defender will always be behind you, so keep cutting towards the basket!

It is important to learn how to read your defender to become a better basketball player and get open shots! 

The third tip you need to learn is changing your speed while cutting. How do you change your speed while cutting, I thought you would never ask!?

While making cuts around the basket you should instantly change your speed to keep the defense off-balance. For example, let’s say you are moving in one direction and then you start preparing to take a screen from a teammate, once you get around the screen your speed should double

The fourth tip is simple! Keep moving. You should ABM (Always. Be. Moving) to become a great shooter in basketball. Just ask Ray Allen and Stephen Curry! You should not stand for over 2 seconds at any point.

How to Get Open Shots by Cutting

Using screens can help you get open and so can proper cutting while moving without the basketball. In my opinion, proper cutting is an underestimated skill and is super important for any fundamentally sound basketball player.

Here are my top reasons for cutting effectively. Remember, a good cut can cause confusion for the defender:

  • This is one of the best ways for any player to get open without having the basketball in their hands
  • A proper cut will allow an offensive player to create enough space to receive a pass (have your hands ready to catch)
  • A proper cut keeps the defense on their heels instead of allowing them to be aggressive 
  • There are several types of cuts that will help you get open, such as; the L cut, V cut, Backdoor Cut, Front Cut, and etc.

The skills of reading the defense and making the correct cuts to get open has enabled players like Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, and Reggie Miller make a living in the NBA.

Here are a few things to remember when cutting and looking to score:

  • Perfect your timing! You should calculate the timing of your cut so that when you receive the pass you are open and are ready to shoot. 
  • Change speeds frequently to make it hard and unpredictable for the defender to keep up
  • Make quick and hard cuts to make it difficult for the defense to guard you
  • Keep your hands ready to catch the basketball, so that you can immediately go in to a triple threat position or either your shooting motion.
  • You can get in a triple threat position after using cuts like the L cut and then ripping the ball through hard and low. You can also shoot a jumper off the catch after creating space.

Here are 7 Basketball Cuts to Help you get Open

#1 V-Cut: this cut is normally used by a wing player against a man-to-man defense. Make sure you change your speed and direction on your cut! Always cut hard to the basketball.

v cut basketball







#2 L- Cut or Up-and-Out Cut: it is used while starting on the low block to get open on the perimeter. Make sure your cut is quick and precise so that the defense can’t steal the pass.

L cut basketball








#3 Shallow Cut: it is used while exchanging positions with your teammate who is dribbling the basketball. Go underneath the defender and cut to the ball. 

shallow cut basketball







#4 Backdoor Cut: it is used while starting out on the perimeter and then making a cut on the backside of the defender for a lay-up. Sell your cut and make the defender believe you are going towards the basketball, immediately go back door to receive the pass. 

backdoor cut basketball







#5 Front Cut: it is used when you cut in front of the defender towards the ball side. Fake like you are going to the middle and then cut in front of the defender for a lay-up. 

front cut basketball







#6 Curl Cut: the player curls around the screen during this cut towards the basket for a lay-up. The defender is good at chasing you, so continue to curl around your screen for a potential lay-up. 

curl cut basketball







#7 Flare Cut: this cut is made when the defender cheats the screen and goes over the top. The offensive player should flare away from the screen.

flare cut basketball








I hope this information on moving without the basketball will help you as much as it helped me! A lot of the tips here are important, but don’t forget footwork. Footwork is equally important for you to get open! Let me know if you know of any other tips that helped you get open and get quality looks at the rim!

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