There Can't Be a Roll without the Pick

So I was just watching some video on ESPN as they took a look into the Duke program. Coach K tells his players that 90% of their screens are non-existent because of a lack of contact on the defender. This is essential for off the ball screens, but also is a key factor to on ball screens as well.

The Knicks were one of the first teams to implement the “pick and slip” when they would show Patrick Ewing far from the basket only to have him wait for the on-ball defender to go on the high side and Ewing would “slip” to the basket usually for an uncontested dunk.It would work because the “hedging” defender would be stuck between hedging and staying with Ewing. The Knicks would isolate that side of the floor in a two man game.

In this video, in plays #7 and #1 exhibit the pick and slip. What the Knicks do a great job in the half court of not isolating the floor in a two-man game, they run it from top of key.  They bring the corner offensive player from the corner to above foul line extended so that if the weak side defender helps, the kick out is wide open. More ground to have to cover in order to “close out.” It creates more half court space, which as we know is so key.   Fields has made that shot, but it’s meant for Gallinari and Chandler. If the make that shot, they are impossible to defend offensively.

But what I’ve noticed a lot, and I can’t find video on it so I’ll try to explain, is that Felton or Douglas never run their man off the screen, which has caused a stall in the Pick and Roll. Watch for that tonight. Amar’e needs to set better screens in order to free himself. Mozgov has been limited in making contact because they always call a foul on him. The guy who’s been the best at it thus far has been Turiaf.

Getting the ball to Amar’e closer to the basket in transition and in the pick and roll also needs to be a priority.