Inside the Offense: Shake Ballscreen


John Beilein was voted best offensive coach in the country by his peers in an anonymous poll by CBS Sports. In honor of Beilein’s offense, we enlisted the help of Gibson Pyper of HalfCourtHoops (@HalfCourtHoops) to break down some of Beilein’s most effective sets. Today we look at Michigan’s shake ball screen set.

Previously: Early Dribble Hand Off, Wide Pin Down, 25 Down, Five Series

Why is it so effective?

Michigan’s Shake ballscreen set is effective because of the floor spacing and ability of guard to attack off the pick and roll. Designed to fake the wide pindown screen and have the big sprint up to set a spread ballscreen for the main guard. You will see John Beilein make a hand gesture shaking is hand to signal this set, triggering the shake action to set the spread pick and roll.

What is the most effective or common defensive counter? How does Michigan counter that action?

The best way to defend this set is to soft hedge or have the big who is defending drop back into the paint forcing the guard to shoot a jumper or a floater. Since the big fakes a screen and sprints into a ballscreen it is difficult to hedge or ICE the ballscreen, making this set harder to defend than normal. Michigan typically counters this action with a rescreen from the big or a rescreen from a wing guard to free up the main guard to attack. More often than not, when this set is run for Trey Burke he is able to turn the corner and hit an open jumper when the big soft hedges or drops back.

What needs to happen to run an effective shake ball screen?

This is a pretty basic ballscreen set, but in practice the action of big faking the downscreen into a ballscreen would be drilled. In game, the wide pindown action will be run several times setting up this action later in the game in order to allow this set to run smoothly.

Best suited for what player on Michigan’s 2015-16 roster?

This set will be most useful for Derrick Walton and Caris LeVert as well as Spike Albrecht in certain situations. They are all good at attacking out of the ballscreen and being able to use this set when one of them have a good matchup will be key late in games to allow Michigan to try and score out of this set.

[ED: It was really interesting how much footage of Trey Burke was used in this video. Burke’s ability to shoot off of the ball screen is something that really opens up the entire offense as you can see here. This is a shot that some of Michigan’s guards struggled to hit last season. That made Michigan very susceptible to the soft hedge or sagging big man on the screen. It will be interesting to see if LeVert and Walton can start knocking down that deep off the dribble jumper this season.]

What makes Beilein’s shake ball screen unique compared to other coaches?

Being able to run great action with counters is part of what makes Beilein a great coach. This is setup by the wide pindown action, allowing Beilein to call this to create easier scoring opportunity for his talented guards. Not many NBA teams run this action, and Beilein is one of the few college coaches using this action currently. I believe this action will continue to grow and Beilein is one of the few coaches ahead of the game through this set.

  • UMHoopsFan

    Another solid entry in a great series of posts. What becomes evident with each additional post is how the actions works off each other/resemble each other/reset into each other/counter each other, etc. It gives UM players multiple opportunities to exploit openings and makes it hard for defenses to scout and obstruct “plays.” It also shows why JB values diversity of game and hoops “IQ.” Nice job.

  • mikey_mac

    Perfect action for Spike and Derrick, since both can knock down a 3 off the dribble on a sag, or are great at finding the open shooter after the defense collapses on the drive. Spike, in particular, should be very comfortable running this set.

  • Chazer

    Well done Dylan, great content and insight! Let’s see how this team adjusts to the competition and reading the “D”. I’ve always believed JB’s teams are better with a year of learning and confidence. I cannot wait for the season to start, this has ben a brutal offseason. Love the clips of Trey he owned the offense and the reads. I also enjoyed just how well those guys played together….making shots really helps!

    Go Blue…..pick the apple!