What Is The Pick and Roll?
Understanding The Pick and Roll
The pick and roll is a fundamental offensive strategy in basketball that involves two players working together to create a successful strategy. It is a widely effective and well-known basketball strategy that is used at all levels in the game today. In this blog, we will explore the basketball pick and roll tactic in full detail. By knowing what is a pick and roll in basketball, you will create more opportunities for success for your team. This will go over the origins, knowing what does a pick and roll mean in basketball, variations, and basic execution that make it such a powerful offensive weapon.
The pick and roll is often referred to as the screen and screen and roll. This emerged as an offensive strategy in the early years of basketball. The origins of this movie can be traced back to the 1930s and 1940s when teams began to experiment with using screens to create certain advantages for ball handlers. However, it wasn't until the 1960s and 1970s that the pick and roll began to be an impactful feature of the game of basketball. Jerry West was a player that was the most well-known player to execute this play to perfection and helped the play gain more popularity as well as recognition.
How Do You Do a Pick and Roll?
The basic premise of the pick and roll is relatively simple: one offensive player sets a screen, or pick, for their teammate who has possession of the ball. The ball handler then uses the screens as a means to gain an advantage of their defender by creating space to shoot or pick for their teammate who has possession of the ball. The ball handler then uses the screen as a means to gain an advantage over their defender to shoot the ball, drive to the basket, or make a pass to an open teammate. The player who sets the screener or roller that also has scoring opportunities, as the defensive attention is mostly focused on the ball handler.
The Set-Up is when the pick and roll typically begins with the ball handler dribbling towards a specific area on the court, often near the top of the key or on the wing. The screener positions themselves strategically, typically a few feet away from the ball handler's defender, and faces the direction in which the ball handler wants to go. The Screen is the second aspect of this. The ball handler approaches the screener, the screener extends their body to create an obstacle for the defender. The objective is to make contact with the defender without committing an offensive foul. The screen can be set in various ways, such as stationary pick, a moving pick, or a slip screen. The next aspect is Reading the Defense. This involves the ball handler being able to read the defense to determine the best type of screen. The defender guarding the ball handler has three options that they can choose from. They can go over the screen which allows them to follow the ball handler closely, go under the screen to cut-off the ball handler's path, and the other option is to do both. By being able to do both, the defender guarding the screener over guarding the ball-handler or vice versa. The last aspect of this is decision making. Based on the defender's reaction, the person who has the ball must make quick decisions. If the defender goes over the screen, the ball handler can drive to the basket or pull up for a jump shot. If the defender goes under the screen, the ball handler can take advantage of open space and shoot from beyond the arc or be able to aggressively attack the basket. In the case of a switch, the ball handler must assess the new defensive match-up to be able to exploit any mismatches. A very important aspect of this is the roll. Simultaneously after setting the screener must roll towards the basket to create the scoring option The screener aims to move quickly to the basket to be able to receive a pass from the ball handler if the defense collapses on the ball handler or the person who has control of the ball can't find an open shot for themselves.
Variations of the pick and roll exist to challenge defensive adjustments and exploit specific strengths of players involved. Some popular variations include Pick and Pop, Double Screen, Slip Screen, and Back Screen. The pick and pop instead of rolling towards, the screener pops out to the perimeter and looks for a mid-range or three-point shot. Understanding why is the pick and roll effective when the screener is a proficient scorer. The Double Screen is when two offensive players are set screens to in close proximity, forcing the defenders to navigate through a series of obstacles on defense. This would create confusion and can lead to an open shot or driving lane for the ball handler. The Slip Screen is instead of setting a solid screen, the person who is screening quickly slips to the basket before fully making contact with the defender. This specific play catches the defense off-guard and often results in an open scoring opportunity near the basket. Lastly, the Back Screen is a high pick and roll combined with a back screen. This is where a player without the ball sets a screen on the defender guarding the screener. The action allows the screener to quickly cut towards the basketball which allows them to cut to the basket creating a lob pass or an easy chance at scoring.
Why is The Pick and Roll So Effective?
The pick and roll is highly effective for many different reasons. This makes it the most utilized and successful strategy in the game of basketball today. One of the largest reasons is that it forces defensive decision-making. The defender guarding the ball handler must decide if they need to go over or under the screen. Sometimes it could lead to a switch. This involves a quick decision to be made quickly and effectively. If there is any hesitation or miscommunication, it could lead to an open basket. Another important aspect of the pick and roll is that it creates uncertainty. Having this tactic can create unpredictability. The defense is trying to configure what is going on for the opponents the opportunity to score. This is also helpful for creating space. The pick and roll is one of the best ways for a ball handler to create space. From the specific pick and roll play, the ball handler can showcase different opportunities for their team depending on how the defense is playing. If the defender goes over the screen, then the person who set the pick is able to get the ball for a shot closer to the basket. If the defender is not able to go through the pick and roll, the ball handler has an opportunity to make an open shot behind the arc. Another great aspect of this utilizes the strengths of some players. This involves having great chemistry. There have been many iconic NBA duos who have needed to have great chemistry to perfect the art of the pick and roll. One of the best examples is John Stockton and Karl Malone. They were both on the Utah Jazz in the 80s and 90s. John Stockton has the most assists of all-time in NBA history while Karl Malone has the third most points scored in NBA history. This duo has had chemistry where they were able to use this play to perfection and advantage. They knew how to best work together in this type of play style, and it was something that was sustainable for success throughout numerous decades. Their opponents were not able to stop them for so long that this play led them both to hall of fame careers. It led them to numerous NBA Finals appearances and is still known to be one of the best duos of all-time.
In conclusion, understanding what the pick and roll is very helpful to a team’s winning strategy. It is a fundamental offensive strategy in basketball that involves one player setting a screen for their teammate who has possession of the ball. It has evolved over time and has become a crucial part of basketball due to its effectiveness and versatility in creating scoring opportunities. By understanding the basic execution, variations, and key principles of their pick and roll, teams can now understand and maximize their offensive potential on the court.
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