A Play with Many Parts

October 29, 2012

The pick-and-roll may seem simple, but it poses complex problems. The ballhandler can pull up for a shot, take the rock hard to the hole or dump it to the screener, who in turn can roll to the basket or pop out for a jumper. On defense, pesky guards and limber big men must read and react. The variety of options calls for a variety of skills. These are the best performers in each of the pick-and-roll's moving parts.

MOST EFFICIENT BALLHANDLER(min. 250 poss.)

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PLAYER PTS/G FG% PTS/POSS
1. Marcin Gortat,PHO 6.0 64.1 1.231
2. Tyson Chandler,NY 3.7 67.5 1.229
3. Kevin Love,MIN 3.5 47.5 1.110
4. Tim Duncan,SA 4.3 54.6 1.077
5. Blake Griffin,LAC 3.3 57.2 1.070
6. Marc Gasol,MEM 3.3 53.9 1.064
7. Kevin Garnett,BOS 3.1 52.1 1.033
8. David Lee,GS 4.1 51.1 1.031
9. LaMarcus Aldridge,POR 4.0 51.1 1.028
10. Drew Gooden,MIL 4.0 49.7 1.005

What makes a good pick-and-roll screener? Well, a good pick-and-roll point guard goes a long way. Marcin Gortat is many things—hardworking, strong—but an offensive juggernaut is not one of them. Yet the Suns' center scored more points per pick-and-roll possession than any other screener, becoming the latest in a long line of Phoenix big men to lead the league in that category, thanks to playing with Steve Nash. Unlike Tim Duncan, who can step out and shoot a jumper as well as roll, and Tyson Chandler, who picks up a fair number of baskets slipping the screen (pretending to set a pick and then breaking to the basket), Gortat generally makes a simple cut to the hoop. But give him his due: He sets effective screens, has good hands and is strong enough to consistently finish at the rim.

EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONSIllustrations by MCKIBILLO PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (HARDEN) PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (ROSE) PHOTOGREG NELSON (BOSH) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (DUNCAN) PHOTONOAH GRAHAM/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (MEEKS) PHOTOBILL FRAKES (GARNETT) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (CHALMERS) PHOTOGREG NELSON (GORTAT)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)