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Explain the Game – Pick-and-Roll

Explain the Game – Pick-and-Roll

A Pick-and-Roll can be of great use in a game, one could even call it art. But, what exactly has to happen for a pick-and-roll to be successful?

The art of a good screen is that, if it’s an on ball screen, the player with the ball get an (open) drive to the basket. Depending on how the defense reacts, the player with the ball can drive and score, stop and shoot, pass to the roller, or pass outside for the wide open shot. And all these options present themselves because of one simple pick-and-roll. Furthermore, the art of a well executed screen depends on both the screener and the player with the ball. The first step to a successful pick-and-roll is setting a good screen, but the player with the ball has to do his part as well. He has to make the screener look good by making the right decision after the screen, but also using the screen in the right way. This means the player has to pass the screen shoulder-to-shoulder, which means the defender has to work hard to follow the opponent instead of just passing by. Once that is done the right way, the player with the ball has a couple of seconds to decide which option to take.

The NBA even keeps track of players whose screens help other players score. These are called screen assists. Right now, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz is the leader of this category with 5.9 screen assists per game (and he has played 42 games this season. Gobert plays together with guard Ricky Rubio, who is not the best outside shooter and therefore he can make great use of good on ball screens. Though Gobert has the highest average of screen assists, he also gets enough chances to finish the ball.


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