Some common options taken by defensive teams are:

  • Switching every screen;
  • Playing zone defence (essentially another form of switching on screens);
  • Having a tall player defend the passer, regardless of whether the passer is a guard, forward or centre. The defender will often angle their body to “allow” a pass to the perimeter, but to block any pass toward the basket;
  • Having defenders sag in towards the key, but to allow passes to the perimeter;
  • “Sagging” into the key, essentially allowing a pass to the perimeter but denying any pass into the key;
  • Strongly denying the “safety” pass. This can be particularly effective, as the presence of the backboard limits the areas of the court where this pass can be made.

There is no necessarily preferred method for defending a baseline inbounds pass but what is important is that the team is organized and all players understand (and implement) whatever method is employed.

A coach may also opt to have more than one way to defend, and then choose a particular tactic depending upon:

  • Time left on the game clock or shot clock;
  • Margin between the teams (i.e. does the opponent have to shoot a 3 point shot?);
  • Position on the sideline where the ball is to be inbounded.

Some common options that are used in defending sideline out of bounds are:

  • Switching screens;
  • Having a tall player defend the inbounds pass – the inbounder may also stand at an angle to influence the area on the court where the ball is passed;
  • Having a player “sag” into the key way to stop any lob pass to a player cutting to the basket (which is often done off a back screen and it is often the defender of the screener that will sag);
  • Allowing the inbounds pass, but double teaming a particular receiver;
  • Completely deny passes to a player outside the 3 point line, forcing players to cut inside the 3 point line (this may be done if the offence was ahead by 3 points);
  • Defending the inbound passer and then strongly denying to them receive a pass as they step into court;
  • Denying passes to particular spots on the floor (e.g. based upon where particular players prefer to shoot or to stop particular shots).