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Kids Newsletter

NBA Basketball 101: What is the pick-and-roll?

JamalMurray

One of the most used and effective plays in the NBA is the pick-and-roll.

Every great player in the league from LeBron James to Kyle Lowry has mastered the art of the pick-and-roll. It's one of the first plays many players who have made it to the NBA learned when they first picked up a ball.

But what is the pick-and-roll and how does it work? Let's take a look and find out.

The pick-and-roll (or screen-and-roll) is when a teammate puts their body in front of the defender who is guarding the player who has the basketball. This is called a pick or a screen .

Once the pick is set, the player with the basketball will then move towards the pick, which prevents the defender from following them.

The pick-setter will then roll or move towards the basket so that the ball handler now has two options: pass the ball or take it themselves for a shot.

The pick-and-roll is usually used by a guard who is handling the ball and a taller or bigger player, either the forward or centre setting the pick. It can also be used the other way around with a taller player handling the basketball and a smaller player setting the screen, but that's far less common.

Players like Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet have become NBA stars learning how to use the pick-and-roll effectively, but it was made famous by NBA Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone in the 1990s.

Today, every team uses their own version of the pick-and-roll which helps them create easier ways to score.

Now that you know what the pick-and-roll is, can you count how many times it's used the next time you watch a basketball game?

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