Taking Your Offense to the Next Level – NBA Elbow Series

All the talk among basketball gurus these days is about how the NBA game is now moving into the college ranks. Well, I agree to the extent that ballscreens are more prevalent in college basketball but there are still some facets of the NBA that have not yet made their way into the college ranks. One of these concepts is the Elbow Series. Stan Van Gundy had his Orlando Magic teams running this set better than anyone in the league for several years. The success that Van Gundy had really revolved around the personnel that he had on the floor. One of the best line-ups that had much success was the five of Jameer Nelson, JJ Redick, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, and Dwight Howard. Those five guys were so good at reading the offense and playing off of each other.

Even if you are a coach who doesn’t like running sets and prefers teaching your players how to play (versus how to run plays), you can still utilize the Elbow Series to its’ fullest! While there are several different plays that you can call out from the bench, the majority of the actions are a result of how the defense is guarding. There are endless possibilities out of the Elbow Series, but I am going to break-down eight of them below and show a few of the reads within each action.

Elbow – Same Side

Elbow Same Side

Elbow – Loop

Elbow Loop

Elbow – Weak Stagger

Elbow Away Double

Elbow – Twist

Elbow Twist

Elbow – Flex



Elbow – Pin Down

Elbow Pin Down

Elbow – Double Go

Elbow Double Go

Elbow – Power

Elbow Power

This is a lot to take in, I understand that. I also know that not every play will work for every team. A lot of the success is based on your personnel and their ability to read the defense and execute properly. If you can teach your team to run at least one or two of these actions and their counters, I believe you will have immediate success!

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