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By far, the fastest growing offense in basketball on a variety of levels of competition is the pick-and-roll offense.  This offense is a variation of the motion offense and it has the ability to create headaches for defenses.  Because of this, more and more teams are using it to beat the defense and score with a greater level of consistency.

Advantages of the Pick-and-Roll Offense

One advantage of the pick-and-roll offense is that the offense is difficult to defend.  The defense can be beat in so many ways by how the defense decides to play the offense.  With these reads, which will be mentioned later in the article, the pick-and-roll offense takes what the defense gives the offense and exploits it.

Second, the pick-and-roll offense can incorporate many more players in the offense.  Different types of offenses are designed around only a certain number of players.  The pick-and-roll offense is set up so that more players can get involved whether they are going to screen the basketball or handle the basketball coming off of a ball screen.

Third, the pick-and-roll offense is a flexible offense in that a variety of personnel can run the offense.  Some offenses require a certain type of personnel to be run effectively.  Because the many ways that the pick-and-roll offense can be run, basketball teams are able to use different personnel and still use the same offensive concepts.

Finally, the pick-and-roll can be run as either a set or as an actual offense when the play breaks down.  In this article, the offense will be presented as both a set and as an actual offense that can be run when the play breaks down.  More importantly, when run as a set, it can be a quick-hitting set that results in open shots or scores at the rim in relatively short order.

Disadvantages of the Pick-and-Roll Offense

One disadvantage in the pick-and-roll offense is that the players who handle the basketball will need to have the ability to both drive to the basket and shoot the long-range jump shot.  The way in which teams have found success on defense against the pick-and-roll offense is that the defense knows who the shooters and drivers are in any offense.  If you have players who can do both off of a ball screen, the player will thrive in the offense.  If not, those players will be scouted and the defense will take away from the offensive player what they want to do best.

One last disadvantage in running the pick-and-roll offense is that you need to make sure that your ball screeners and ball-handlers are not susceptible to switches.  If you can set any kind of screen and put the defense in a position to where they can ill-afford to switch it, any screening offense works.  However, if you cannot get this done, switches are likely to occur which will result in problems for the offense.  In fact, every coach who runs any kind of offense with screens will want the defense to not switch so it it important the the defense not be given a good opportunity to switch.

Middle Pick-and-Roll Offense

The first type of pick-and-roll offense set is the middle pick-and-roll.  Here, a set is designed with a ball screen set high for the point guard (Diagram 1).  In the example shown in Diagram 1 is with the low post on the help-side.  The post can be on either side depending upon the play.

Diagram 1

Another way to get into a middle pick and roll with the low post on the help side is to have a back screen set for #4 by #5 who then sets the ball screen (Diagram 2).  The point guard can throw the lob to #4 or come off of the ball screen.

Diagram 2

If they ball-handler is denied the opportunity to use the ball screen, he can penetrate and attack the rim (Diagram 3).  Off of this, the ball-handler can kick to any of the other four players or take it to the basket for a lay-up.

Diagram 3

If the ball screen does not result in a scoring play for the ball-handler, there are a number of options available.  However, if we are put in a position to throw the ball into the corner on the middle pick-and-roll with the low post on the help side, we will go into a side pick-and-roll play automatically (Diagram 4).

Diagram 4

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