What does pick and roll mean

The recipe for success: pick and roll

Every Big Man knows the sign. When the structure with the ball is on the line of three and waving encouragingly. Sure what should happen. He automatically sets himself in motion and places a block on his one, which he uses by dynamically pulling past to the right or left and the Big Man rolls to the basket. Pick and Roll. Seen a thousand times, every day in today's basketball. During the 90s it was still an avoided system in the NBA, which John Stockton and Karl Malone tirelessly celebrate, perfect and make their trademark at Utah Jazz. In recent years, however, the simple "block and roll" has become more and more popular and central - not only on the open field or on the international stage, but also in the best basketball league in the world.

The "PnR" is now run in almost every second attack - as an entry point or when there are only a few seconds left on the shot clock. And not only guards, but also forwards like LeBron James regularly wave their big men over. "Actually everyone does the pick-and-roll," Knicks President Phil Jackson confirms the trend. Because all NBA coaches know how effective the “blocking and rolling” is, which made Malone the second-best scorer and Stockton the best assistant in NBA history, and they are relying more and more on it: they won 44,968 league-wide picks in the 2009/10 season -and-Rolls, it was an impressive 61,473 in 2013/14! Or to put it another way: in 2009/10, 16.4 percent of all attacks from pick-and-roll were completed, in 2013/14 already 21.8%, i.e. more than every fifth attack. And no franchise does without the "PnR" in the offense.

The only question is why "blocking and rolling" has become so popular and so central in the attacking game of the NBA teams? And how promising is the two-man game anyway?

Open litter or mismatch

First of all, it is important to understand why pick and roll is used. In principle, the goal is just as simple as the execution: With the "PnR" the offense tries to create a situation that creates a free throw or poses problems for the opposing team. The classic is the creation of a mismatch, which is why the player usually provides the block that has the heaviest defender - usually a big man like Pau Gasol. With the pick and roll, the Bulls try - let's take the example of the east duel between Chicago and Cleveland - to force the Cavs to switch when they attack. This means that a heavier defender like Timofey Mozgov has to defend a quick guard like Derrick Rose because his defender Kyrie Irving gets stuck on the block. The big offensive player (Gasol) "rolls" away from the ball, pulling his now smaller opponent (Irving) with him and giving his colleague with the ball (Rose) more space to play off his speed against Mozgov in one-on-one. But also block plate Gasol now has a mismatch and can post on or in the zone against the much smaller Irving.

But not only the directly involved duo is searched for in the pick-and-roll, but also the other three attackers: Because the faster the ball-bearing player uses the block and energetically pulls towards the basket, the sooner he will attract another help defender which in turn creates free space for the other players. With an accurate, razor-sharp passing game, the guard also has the option of finding a blank colleague for an open throw.

“The pick and roll is the origin of every modern NBA offense,” says Doug Eberhardt (Sbnation.com). “It forces the defense to make a decision. This results in many options: an open jumper, a free move to the basket, the pass to the blocker or the shooter outside, a backdoor pass to the cutting teammate and so much more! "

The complete article is available in BASKET 6/2015.