How to make a Perfect Scouting Report in Basketball

Scritto da: Chris Hungerford



Tempo di lettura 10 min

Scouting report in basketball is a very important thing if you are trying to run a serious basketball organization. Depending on the information gathered by your scouts, you are going to know the strengths and the weaknesses of the opponents, and you are going to be prepared to exploit those flaws. Professional teams are spending millions of dollars a year in order to have a perfect scouting report for each game. 

As much as it is overwhelming to hear how some of the teams like to invest in a scouting report, I think that everything you need is a piece of paper and goodwill to be concentrated on the game in terms of details.

Scouting Report in Basketball

Scouting report in basketball should contain the next set of information:

  • General Information
  • Team Offense Info
  • Team Defense Info
  • Individual Player Scouting Report
  • Team Offense Patterns
  • Team Defense Patterns
  • Transition Offense

1. General Information

Every scouting report in basketball should start with the General Information. As you can see, this page should have the name of teams that are playing a game and the team's rankings on the leader. I also like to put the current record just because it can tell the urgency for the teams. Then, there must be information about the place, date, and time of the game, the league that the teams are playing, and the name of the scout.

Underneath should be the score by the quarters, good information on how the teams were playing throughout the game. Many coaches neglect this information, but, it is very important to know what is the dynamics of the opposing team. Some teams play better early, and some teams play better late. If you have the information that the opponent is playing its best basketball in the third quarter, then you are going to try and play aggressive defense at the start of the second half.

2. Team Offense Info

Scouting report in basketball is highly dependable on analyzing the other team's offense. This piece of information is going to make our defensive preparations better and easier.

  • Team offense is run through patterns or is it more of a free-minded game where players can play what comes in their mind. If there are patterns, you will need to draw them and point out the targeted players or situations. If it's a game without patterns, then you will need to write what is the go-to action, is it 1 on 1 with making the defense move or is it a ball on the low post.
  • This question is important to know because it is going to tell you if you are playing against a team that likes to control the tempo and play a bit slower or if you are up against run and gun team.
  • If there is continuity on offense then you are going to have to be prepared and focused on every defense because they are going to play pattern after pattern and they are going to be patient with the finishing.
  • I mean, a few teams do not like to play pick and roll. Usually, teams without big players play it less than the others.
  • This is very important to know because if a team likes to set a ton of good off-ball weak side screens, your players will have to be on alert all the time.
  • The defense is a bit different if the team likes to shoot threes and if they like to play inside the paint. The difference is in half a step toward the 3-point line or toward the free-throw line.
  • Every team has an offensive identity. Some attack with the drives, and some like to move the ball with the passing. We all know that whatever is the case we need to be prepared and adapt to a certain style of basketball.
  • If the guards are strong on the ball, you do not want and try to attack them on the dribbling. What you want to do is to try and contain the ball and put a body between the ball and the rim. If the guards are bad ball handlers, then you want to press the ball.
  • Isolation is only valid in the NBA because of the 3 seconds rule. I personally do not believe in ISO plays because you can always send a help defender to a certain location.
  • Go to Man is not necessarily the best player on the team and you have to identify the difference. Go-to players can be passive for long stretches of the games but in key moments they are the ones to take the shots. Know those players and make assignments. There is no other way.
  • You need to know who is the best shooter on the opposing team because you do not want to help off of this player nor do you want to let him alone not even for a second. If there is an off-ball screen for the best shooter, you want to switch everything. It is better to fight another player inside than to let a good shooter shoot.
  • You are winning the game if the worst shooter is shooting the most. Yes, the opponents do not want this but if you double the ball off of the worst shooter, and the help defender is covering the good shooter, this player will have to make a decision every time. Those shots are going to be good looks, but eventually, he is going to miss them.
  • We do not want our bad defenders on the opponent's quickest players. We will rather match speed with speed.
  • We do not want to play aggressive defense on the player that has good handles, because that way he is going to exploit his best skills in order to beat the defense. What we really want to do with those players is to contain the ball and to try and be between them and the rim.
  • We want to press players without handles. These situations are the best for making some steals.
  • If the game comes to the last shot, we want to know which of the opposing players is likely to make a mistake under pressure. What we want to do is to cover other players, or even double them, just to put the ball into those players' hands.
  • We have to know if we are dealing with a team that likes to go for the ball every time, or if we are playing against a team that likes organized defense. The difference is in one player because aggressive teams use 2 players on the offensive board and passive players send just one. Either way, we want to identify the best rebounder and we want to box out him every time.
  • And in the end, we want to know the DNK of the offense that we are dealing with. Is the anchor of their offense a low or a high post or their world spins round pick and roll, the information in our basketball scouting report is going to make our defensive preparation easier.

3. Team Defense Info

Defensive information in our basketball scouting report is crucial because it is going to reveal our opponent's weaknesses. This way we are going to know how to attack them and how to be as efficient as we can be.

  • The first thing we want to know is what is the defensive identity of the opposing team. We want to be prepared for any defense that they are going to try and play.
  • On-ball defense is telling us how aggressive they are on the ball. If they like to pressure the ball then we are going to pass the ball more.
  • Off-ball defense is telling us how good of a help defenders they are. If they are bad then we are going to drive the lane more and use back door cuts.
  • If the team is bad at boxing out then we are going to send more guys to crash the boards. More offensive rebounds more second-chance opportunities for us.
  • Pick-and-roll defense is crucial for almost any team because pick-and-roll action is one of the most used offensive plays in the game on any level.

I mean, if the opponents are defending pick and roll with a drop, being low, we are going to give the ball to a good mid-range shooter who is going to exploit the space given after the screen.

  • We want to attack the slowest player on the perimeter.
  • We want to attack the slowest inside player on the pick-and-roll as a screener defender.
  • Teams that are not high on the passing lanes are a bit lower in-depth and allow more open shots from deep.
  • We want to know who is the most aggressive player on the team so the player who is he guarding can play off the ball.
  • We do not attack the best defender.
  • We box out the best rebounder.
  • We want to know how good is the coverage on the cuts so we can get easy points by simple back-door movement on offense.

4. Individual Player Scouting Report

One of the crucial parts of any scouting report in basketball is an individual scouting report. As you can see, if you are scanning a certain player, the first thing that you want to have is his full name, jersey number for easier identification, position, metrics, and dominant hand.

Then come the stats. For shooting, what a good report contains is a map of shots. With the X you can mark missed shots, and with the O made ones. This map is going to tell you not just the percentage but it is going to give you insight into where the player is shooting comfortably and which are his struggling points.

After that, you want to take care of assists, rebounds, turnovers, and blocked shots.

And after that, it's the story about the player. Is he a shooter or a penetrator, is he a pass-first or a shoot-first player. Read one by one and rate his abilities on the court, and when you are done, you will have the whole picture and you will know what needs to be done to defend him.

5. Team Offense Patterns

Scouting reports in basketball must contain offensive patterns that you were able to see and to write. This way, when you hear a call from a player or a coach... let's say Horns, you are going to be aware of what kind of horns are they playing and who is the target.

While I was watching this game, I was able to notice the way of how are they executing horns offense. The screeners are always the best shooter and the center, and in the corners are the other two players with the exception that the best athlete is always on the same side as the center.

The action starts with the pint guard dribbling the ball toward the shooter where the shooter is setting the screen for the PG. Then, the shooter is running toward the other player in the Horns, who is a Center, and he is going over him while he now receives a screen. The shooter goes wide and the center dives toward the rim. 

If the screen is good, there is a lob pass toward the shooter for an open three, or if the Center is open he receives the ball. Ideally, after he receives the ball, there is a cut from the weak side corner for a lob pass and a dunk.

In these patterns, you can draw any offensive set play. Here you can put some inbound plays or quick hitters or last-second plays, but you have to identify them properly in the Action Name line.

6. Team Defense Patterns

A good scouting report in basketball must contain some of the info about some specific stuff about the opponent's defensive sets. Whatever you see, you can draw here, but make sure that you write every thought you had because there is so much information that is easily forgotten.

Here we had an easy pick-and-roll action that was close to the sideline, and the screen was in a way that the ball handler has penetrated the baseline. 

The help defender from the strong side stayed close to his man while the real help was sent from the weak side corner.

7. Transition Offense

The first thing we want to know is that if we are playing against a fast pace or a slow-paced team. Then, we want to know what do they do if they run. Different teams like to finish the transition differently. Some like to throw touchdown passes, and some like to wait for the trailer. And In the end, we want to know who are the inbounders, who like to receive the ball and what is the position of the players who receive the first pass. 

Teams who like to run like to do it every time, not just after the basket. 

Secondary transition options are really important to identify because this is the moment where your defense will be the least organized and you do not want to let some easy buckets.

Scouting report in basketball is easy to make if you go and use this E-Book that we at Hoopsking made just for you. Keep in mind that the scouting is all about the details and writing down everything you saw. Using this kind of information is going to help you prepare your team in the best way possible in order to win, and it is going to teach your players how to look at the basketball.

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