What is a basketball pick & roll?

What is a basketball pick & roll?
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Pick & roll is one of the most versatile plays in basketball, which both amateurs and the biggest stars of the NBA like to use. What is its magic?

Pick & roll – a historical outline

Basketball fans may think that the pick & roll, also known as screen & roll, has always existed in basketball, and this is not far from the truth. Sources say that this now legendary play was introduced in the 1920s. Since then, 100 years have passed, and the world around us has changed beyond recognition in almost all categories. Almost, because the age-old pick & roll still reigns indivisibly on the playing fields, and there is no indication that this state of affairs will change anytime soon. How to properly perform this play and what is its phenomenon?

Pick & roll – execution technique

Pick & roll is based on the cooperation of two players. The starting point of the play is a situation in which a player of the attacking team has the ball and the opportunity to roll. A second player from the same team – usually an undercourt player – puts up a screen, or so-called pick, in order to free the player with the ball from the defender. Left alone, the player with the ball immediately moves toward the basket. The culmination of the whole process is to pull the player putting up the curtain towards the basket – this element is the roll. If the player putting up the curtain is in a convenient position to shoot, he receives the ball and closes the action. The method is equally effective in amateur games and on NBA courts.

Pick & roll – the power of cooperation

Mastered to perfection, the pick & roll is referred to in basketball jargon as the ultimate weapon. Some duos have made this play not only their trademark, but also a kind of work of art. Suffice it to cite the example of John Stockton and Karl Malone, well known to basketball enthusiasts, who at one time terrorized even the best defenses in the colors of the Utah Jazz. However, the idea of a simple pick & roll requires perfect cooperation between players – mutual understanding is the key to success in this case. What else should attacking players and players putting up the curtain be aware of?

Pick & roll – attacking player

The attacking player, first of all, should adopt a triple attack position – bent knees, tight buttocks, balance. In this way, he is ready at all times to run quickly toward the basket. The next element may seem obvious, but its implementation varies – the player must wait for the curtain. Otherwise, the whole plan will go to waste. It is also an important point to make a turn the other way before moving in the right direction. In addition, the player must be alert throughout the action and react to events in real time. Pick & roll doesn’t always follow a set scenario and many times a change of plans may be necessary.

Pick & roll – the player putting the curtain down

A key element from the perspective of the player putting up the curtain is proper communication with a teammate. It is best to use subtle gestures, such as a slight nod of the head or simply making eye contact – this way the opponent will have less of a chance to figure out our intentions. The very act of putting up the curtain should be instantaneous, while it’s best to stand still afterwards. During the rolling process, it is important to remember not to lose sight of the ball.

main photo: unsplash.com/Kylie Osullivan

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