Extremely popular in the early 2000’s, particularly with High School and College programs in the East, the flex offense is a fun strategy. The basic flex offense set gets a little complicated, but it’s nothing you can’t wrap your head around in a short period of focus.
that focus is well worth it though. With a small set of moves, the flex can open up all kinds of interesting opportunities. The flex offense is intricate enough to keep more advanced players engaged, but it also works well to put the ball in every players hands.
There’s a fantastic video on Youtube that covers this offense in great detail from the perspective of a player familiar with the schema from playing it in his youth. The one thing that the video fails on is walking you through the actual strategy in a way that is comprehensible. It just moves a little too quickly to deliver the underlying pattern.
So I want to focus here on filling in that gap and clarifying the flex set and it’s movements. Then you can hop over to the video to fill in the other details. By the end of this post you’ll have no problem explaining this offensive set, identifying it in the wild, or launching into it.
How does the Flex Offense work?
The flex offense is a half-court set that relies on fast-paced ball movement, screens, and cuts to get open shots. It is an effective way to create mismatches and get the ball to your best players in scoring positions.
Let’s run through the diagrams. Diagrams aren’t always the best way to hammer through a concept. In this case though, it’s definitely warranted. Plus, it’s really just 3 stages repeated indefinitely. this is one of my favorite offensive concepts for its simplicity and the way it fits so neatly together.
Setup – A basic 4-out setup. The post is on the block.
Step 1 – Reverse the ball away from the post. At the same time, the post sets a screen for the corner to cruise across the paint.
Step 2 – Now 5 takes a screen off of 2 to get in position for another reversal.
Step 3 – After laying down the screen for 5, 2 cuts to the perimeter. Simultaneously, 4 sets a screen for 3 to cut across the paint. Looks pretty similar, right? We’ve just set up that same triangular positioning on the strong side that we saw in step 2. This time it’s on the opposite side.
And we should all know triangles win championships right? Especially in a 15-20ft spacing?
Repeat – Just keep the cycle rolling here on the opposite side. Screen the 4 back to the top of the perimeter and reverse the ball again. You’re right back to step 2, just flipped.
So you can kinda see why this has been such a popular system over the years. It’s not super simple, but it’s definitely easy enough that with some practice, even a relatively inexperienced team can get it down cold. With enough repetition, the entire team can begin to intuit everyone’s positioning on the floor.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Continuous player movement.
- It can be very confusing to opponents who are not familiar with it.
- Not really suitable for younger age groups.
- It can be predictable if not run properly.
History of the Flex Offense in Basketball
The Flex Offense is closely related to the triangle system which was developed in the 1950s by Tex Winter and later popularized by Phil Jackson. Flex is a motion offense that uses constant motion and misdirection to create open looks for the offense, while keeping the defense off balance.
The Flex Offense has been used by some of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA. The Chicago Bulls, coached by Phil Jackson, won six championships in the 1990s and 2000s using the Flex Offense as their main offensive strategy.
The San Antonio Spurs, coached by Gregg Popovich, have also employed the Flex Offense to great success, winning five NBA titles since 1999. The Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers have also used the Flex Offense to great effect, winning multiple championships in the last decade.
Overall, the Flex Offense is one of the most successful and popular offensive strategies in basketball. Its success has been proven by some of the greatest teams in the NBA, and its popularity continues to grow.
Flex Offense Drills
1. Flex Cutters
Set up a line of players on each side of the free throw line. The first two players start with the ball. On the coach’s signal, the first player passes the ball to the other side and cuts to the basket. The second player passes to the first player who made the cut and cuts to the basket himself. The drill is continued until all players have completed their cuts. This drill reinforces timing, synchronization and spacing.
2. Flex Rotation
Run through the rotation. No defenders, just the rotation. Screen up, screen down, reversals. It should be so ingrained in your players minds that they can launch into this set on a dime and hit each other on the pass without even looking.
Countering the Flex Offense
When facing a team that uses flex offense, we need to make sure to stay disciplined and stay in our defensive positions. We need to be prepared to guard against cuts and screens, as well as anticipate the ball handler’s actions.
It is important to maintain proper spacing and positioning on the court. We want to limit the passing and cutting opportunities for the opposing team. We need to stay in our defensive stances and not overcommit to the ball handler.
Communication will be key to defending against flex offense. We need to be aware of our teammates’ positions and be vocal in calling out screens, cuts, and passes. We also need to be prepared to help out our teammates if they get beat off the dribble.
We need to be aggressive on the defensive end, without overcommitting. We need to be ready to contest shots, disrupt passing lanes and deflect passes. We need to stay focused and anticipate the opponent’s next move.
Well, there you have it! The flex offense is a great way to help your basketball team work together and score some points. With the right practice, your team can use the flex offense to help you be the best basketball team you can be. So get out there and give it a try!”
The flex offense is an effective way to spread the floor and create open shots. It relies on quick ball movement and screens to free up players for scoring opportunities. With the right execution, the flex offense can be an effective tool to help your team score.