“Ram Screen”


Term: Ram Screen

Definition: an offensive action in which a player receives an off-ball screen then sets a ballscreen

Origin: Gibson Pyper (@halfcourthoops) named this action after the VCU Rams, whom he saw run it

See Also: Ghost, Stack/Spain PnR, Exit, Wedge Roll, Screen the Screener

How It Works: In the diagram above, 2 sets a down screen for 5, who then sets a ballscreen for 1

Why It Works: Ram action is effective mainly because the ballscreener’s defender is recovering from the first screen instead of preparing for the subsequent ballscreen. As a result, Ram screens can subvert the defense’s intended ballscreen coverage, such as “ice” or “show.”

In this example, the Atlanta Hawks run Ram action by having Bogdan Bogdanovic screen for Danilo Gallinari, who then sets a ballscreen to switch his defender, Khem Birch, onto Trae Young. (First, Gallinari “ghosts,” and then he rescreens.) After the switch, Trae isolates Birch and scores a layup at the end of the quarter.

A weakness of Ram action is that the player who sets the first screen is often near the basket, which means his defender is in position to provide off-ball rim protection.

One solution is set the initial screen elsewhere on the court. In this example, Robert Williams is near the FT line when he screens for Jayson Tatum, who then sets a ballscreen. The confusion caused by the Ram action and Williams’s placement on the court create a 2-on-1 lob opportunity for the Time Lord:

In this play from Ratiopharm Ulm, the Ram action occurs near the wing and frees up Killian Hayes for a dunk:

Another solution is to have the initial screener then receive a baseline “exit” screen. Against OKC, Skylar Mays screens Gallinari (who then sets a ballscreen) and then receives an exit screen from Solomon Hill for the corner 3:

Teams will also combine Ram action with a Spain PnR (aka “Stack”), in which the ballscreener receives a backscreen as he rolls to the hoop. The left diagram below is traditional ram action, with 2 screening for 5 before 5 sets a ballscreen for 1. The right diagram is a Spain PnR: 2 backscreens for 5 as 5 rolls to the hoop.

Or teams with combine Ram with back-to-back ballscreens: The player who sets the initial down screen will also set the second of two ballscreens. In this example, Dwight Howard down screens for Furkan Korkmaz, who ghosts his ballscreen for Shake Milton. Then Howard turns around and sets a second ballscreen for Shake, who finds Howard for the lob:

In concept, Ram is similar to a Wedge Roll, in which a player who receives a wedge screen then sets a side pick-and-roll. Here, Jarrett Culver sets a “wedge” screen (a diagonal screen near the elbow) for Ed Davis, who then sets a ballscreen for D’Angelo Russell:

In this example, DeAndre Jordan receives a wedge screen, sets a ballscreen, and then rolls to the hoop for an alley-oop:

Although both Ram and Wedge Roll are actions in which a player who receives an off-ball screen then sets a ballscreen, the difference is their origin (and their location: Wedge Rolls occur on the wing). A Ram PnR is a wrinkle of a standard PnR, but a Wedge Roll is a wrinkle of a post-up play. A wedge screen is typically set for a big to get him a post-up opportunity near the low block:

A counter from the defense is to have 4’s defender go under 2’s wedge screen. A counter to that counter is to have 4 set a ballscreen instead of cutting for a post-up. If his defender goes under 2’s wedge screen, he’s out of position to help with the ballscreen on the wing.


Ram PnR Exit (the player who sets the ram screen receives the exit screen):

Ram Spain PnR (the player who sets the Ram screen also sets the backscreen):