Building Your Basketball Playbook: Inverted Offense

Flip the traditional setup – Inverted Offense posts up a guard, running actions above to create huge advantages and tough covers.

While attending the NABC Coaches Convention a few years back, I was intrigued when I saw the session titled, “The Analytical Edge: Underutilized Strategies to Increase Win Percentage,” presented by Frank Dehel of Dribble Handoff.

As I listened to his presentation, one of his main topics in particular got my attention – Inverted Offense.

While the term may not be familiar to you, you’ve seen the base action done for years. Look familiar…?

Reasons To Invert Your Offense

In order for your inverted action to be effective, Dehel tells us a couple things need to happen:

  1. Your guards must win 1-on-1 matchups. Ask most coaches, and they’ll tell you they don’t spend much time having their guards, especially their point guard, practice post defense. A point guard with the moves and ability to dribble, pass, and score in the post is immediately at a huge advantage.
  2. Height and weight differential matters. According to Dehel, his analysis showed that guards who were at least 6’3” tended to have the most success. Even if you don’t have tall guards, your guard may have a weight/strength advantage. There might be times during a game where you can create a mismatch for that guard against a smaller and/or weaker guard.

Some of you are thinking, “Ok, so what? The post up PPP (points per possession) still doesn’t make it worth for us to try any inverted actions.” You’re right – the numbers say shots in the paint off post ups are typically inefficient. However, Dehl’s research found FGAs coming from a pass out of the post yield a +.25 PPP than a FGA in the post. As a matter of fact, shots from a post pass yielded an even higher PPP than a couple of our favorite types of shots.

Adjusted PPP
 YearShots off ScreensSpot-UpShot from Post Pass
*Statistics from

Translation: You need more sets and strategies to get FGAs off post passes.

Here are some ideas to get you started…

Team USA – Horns Inverted Offense

Team USA horns inverted offense

This Horns set from Team USA’s women’s squad is the perfect example of an opportunity to post a guard, then make the defense pay when perimeter defenders are caught turning to find the ball. In today’s game, many teams are putting four or five shooters on the floor at a time. It only takes one defender turning to find the ball for an open 3PA (see Frame 3).

Villanova Wildcats – Fake Handoff to Inverted Offense

Villanova fake handoff to inverted offense

The Villanova Wildcats action above shows the “inverted” portion of the offense by not only posting Jalen Brunson but with the forward screening on the perimeter (something typically done along the baseline to get a guard open).

Utah Jazz – Inverted Offense

Jazz inverted offense

For years, we’ve seen offenses create mismatches in the post by using guard-to-forward screens. Two more possibilities:

  1. Use a forward-to-guard screen for the guard to get into the post.
  2. Use that same guard-to-forward screening principle to get a perimeter shot for the forward (see Jazz play above).

Should I Invert My Offense?

Entirely? Of course not. You may not even feel you have the personnel to try posting any of your guards. But the numbers say passing out of the post for perimeter shot opportunities is advantageous enough to add to your playbook.

If you need more ideas, feel free to connect with me on Twitter @tonywmiller, and I’d be happy to help.


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