Unicaja offense analysis: HORNS

Unicaja offense analysis: HORNS


Today I will start a 3 article serie about Unicaja‘s offense, where I will try to analyse some of this team most used plays. It will not be a complete basketball scouting, just a in depth view of some them. The first one is pretty conventional, but it has some details that I like.

All this plays are from the same match against Real Madrid last thursday, in the Euroleague competition. Real Madrid won really easy, despite of Unicaja showing some interesting zone defenses. We may focus on that in another article.


Unicaja from Málaga

Let’s start from the beggining. Most of you don’t know Unicaja, so let’s introduce the team a little.

Unicaja is the main basketball team in Málaga, a city from the south of Spain. It is one of the main contenders on the Spanish local league called ACB, but also competes in the most important european competition: the Euroleague. As a fun fact, it was the second spanish team to win against an NBA team (102-99 vs Grizzlies on 2007).

This year, despite of not being the main favorite in the spanish league, it’s in playoffs positions. In Euroleague Unicaja has had an irregular start, but I’m sure they will go up in the standings beacuse the team has some really good players as Ray McCallum, Nemanja Nedovic or Giorgi Shermadini. Joan Plaza will be able to get the best from his players.



In this post, I will focus on one typical offensive basketball play that Unicaja uses quite a lot. Let’s see a complete recap in the next video:



There are some small variations but this play starts with both the power forward and the center in the 3 point line, with the shooting guard and the small forward on the corners.

First of all, the point guard takes the pick from the 5, who cuts to the rim, while the 4 opens to give an easier passing line.


Unicaja Horns1 (basketball plays)


In this players disposition, the point guard can try to pass the ball to the center who is rolling, or to pass to the 4 (who can also look for the inside pass).


Basketball plays - Unicaja horns


If the inside pass could not be taken, the power forward will go hand off with the perimetral player.


basketball plays - Unicaja Horns


Just after the hand off, there will be another pick and roll from player 5.

While this is happening, the point guard and the other player will switch positions, some times with a screening involved.


Basketball plays - Unicaja Horns



While basketball training, it is important to change a bit the plays. Unicaja does a small change on this play depending on who is the first screener.

If the screener is the biggest man, he will cut to the rim as described before and the 4 will go open. In the case that the power forward is the screener, he will go for the pop, staying open again, while the center cuts to an inside position.


Basketball training - Unicaja Horns


Top details

In my opinion is interesting some details from this basketball play:

  • Perimetral players change of positions: I think this way it is a lot harder to defend. It removes the weak side defending player, or at least, it is not that clear who can help. This is a detail I really give relevance in my basketball trainings.
  • Putting the players where they are more useful: with the simple variation depending on the screening, Unicaja puts their 4 in the 3 point line where they can be dangerous, while leaving his good post players space to be able to play one on one if they receive the ball.
  • As all hand off plays, I think that speed and dynamism are two of the main things that we have to train while basketball coaching.



What do you think about this play? any other comment?


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