What is Pick and Roll in Basketball ?

Basketball is regarded as one of the most tactically complex and rich sports since there are so many distinct opportunities for both attack and defence throughout the course of a game.

A pick-and-roll is one of the most used, offensive plays in a basketball game in which after setting the pick then a teammate screens off a defender. The ball carrier can pass or shot (Roll).

One of the simplest ways for the offensive team to gain an edge is the pick-and-roll. There are several approaches to stopping the pick-and-roll, but none of them is certain to be effective. The pick-and-roll is still quite common and is employed by all teams because of this.

Pick-and-roll also known as Screen and roll was introduced back in the 1990s by Hall of Famers Karl Malone John Stockton.

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How Pick-and-Roll Works:

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1.Creation Separation by the Dribbler

Create a gap between you and the defender which will be helpful to generate space to apply the screen perfectly. If you are dribbling then a quick jab or crossover is enough to step backward against the defender.

2.Separation of the Screener

The 2 nd step for applying to the screen is, quickly separate before the on-ball screen. It is useful to decrease the defender’s defense. The dribbler can now get benefits easily. A smart way is to create zoom by in and out motions.

The Screener can generate this separation in 3 ways.

  • Sprint to create the Screen: by jogging or walking
  • Ram Screen: A 3 rd Player is evolved for the screener just before the on-ball screen
  • Avoid Telegraphing the Screen: i.e defenders can’t guess the communication

3.Setting the right angle

To dodge the defender the ideal position for the screen is with backs to the corner of the Court.


It is also the most important step, quick contact and response between the dribbler and
screener can give you 100% results.

5.Attacks by the Dribbler

After setting the screen perfectly, next the dribbler has to drive by the screener and quickly start dribbling twice or thrice to check the power of defense and the attack. If attacking is not possible then obviously pass the ball.

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6.Screener Rolls

When the dribbler is struck in the screen the screener must reach to the rim to catch the pass and score in.

The screener can have two options at this stage

  • Dive and Score: Just move forward toward the rim and dive for the basketball to score
  • Roll by Reverse Pivoting: Sealing off the defender by zig-zag or reverse pivoting by moving his foot closest to the rim as pivoting.

7.Decision-Making by the Dribbler:

The final decision would be by the dribbler rather he would arrack to the rim or he would pass the roll. Its essential to place ball handlers who can attack and have a good basketball IQ in that position.

What is Pick and Roll in Basketball


The right decision at right time is the key to success. The dribbler must judge the defense rightly and decide at right time.

Powerful techniques to bypass the defenders are the followings:

  • Splitting: The dribbler would use the screen, When he saw the defender hedge out, he will plant his outside foot and push the basketball through as he rushes for the basket.
  • An attack outside the Hip: The dribbler must attack the outside hip and drive to the basket if the screeners defender doesnt hedge out high and remains linked to the screener.
  • Downgrade the screen: The on-ball defender will frequently try to sneak over or under the screen early if they suspect a screen is approaching. If they do, the dribbler will have a fantastic chance to fly across the screen and toward the basket.
  • 1 or 2 Steps Back Out: Another useful trap is, just go back one or two steps then observe the defender behind the screener, decide to hard hedge on screen and decline to split. The screener is opened for the shot or to drive due to the gap generated.
  • Shoot: if the defender slip through the screen and the screener’s defender doesn’t come help, the dribbler is free to take a jump to shot.

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Different Pick and Roll Styles

To be perfect in Pick-and-Ball you should get mastery all techniques. It will also be helpful to be the perfect coach. The following list covers Pick-and-Roll variations.

  • Full Height or Top: Establish the screen is the top of the key. Usually off-ball player will be present at the corner with 2 dribblers at 3 points. The screen is established at the top of the key. Usually, an off-ball player is present in the short corner and 2 dribblers at 3- pints.
  • Side or Wing: taking the ball to the court’s middle another player from the opposite sidewalk.
  • Corner or Triangular offense: Off-ball players are often positioned near the top of the key, in the corner, and the weak-side low post when this play is played.
  • Elbow or High post: Two post players will often take care of this, leaving three offensive players free to move around the perimeter and open up space inside.
  • Single Dragging or Straight Transition: The reason this works so well is that the screeners defender, who is supposed to provide help defense on the dribbler, is often caught off guard after sprinting back to defend the basket.
  • Double Dragging or Double Pass: The player who sets the initial screen rolls to the rim in this style. The second screener emerges at the edge.
  • Horns Double-side Attack: Take start with two offensive player whose position will be towards the screen in front side of the attacker at the top of the key at the similar time. It will open the court as the dribbler tries to drive toward basket and allow the attacker to attack from any side.
  • Flat Pick and Roll: this takes place when the screener sets the on-ball screen with their back to the rim. If you have an aggressive player who can attack in any direction, this Pick n’ Rol variant may be quite successful.

Weve spoken about the ideal pick-and-roll execution, but theres something crucial weve left out.

The ball handler must be aware of the skills of their partner since this will influence whether they choose wisely. For instance, passing to a shooter on the perimeter is far preferable to a guy who struggles from long range.

Coaching Points:

  • Discuss with your team, establish contact, adjust the angle, etc.
  • Practice all players in handling ball-and-screening
  • Teach your player how to interpret Pick-and-Roll correctly. E.g shoot when the defender falls, attack they cross or forward.
  • Stay within the quarter of the Court. Don’t cross the split line is out of bounds.
  • Each possession team should take start with pick and roll 
  • Don’t allow the defensive team to switch.

“Extra Tips and Advice”:

Discard the conventional roles:

Every player in the team should not be restricted but rather a dribbler or screener based on their size and position. Each player should practice as a dribbler and screener. Your post players should be comfortable handling the ball. Your guard should act as the screener. Positionless basketball is crucial but the tendency to handle should be flourished.

Position Screens with Your Security:

Rathe both positions should be practiced by all players as all coaches do not make efforts fot it. When guards are present in the helping position during the game, they become confused and can make mistakes because they have not practiced as pick-and-rolls. The offensive play would get easy-scoring opportunities.

Short roll attack on a trapped pick-and-roll

To create distance between the screener and the dribbler the former will have to make two full- fledged retreat dribbles. If the defense tries to break the Pick n’ Rol combo then the screener will have to perform a brief roll to be closer to the hoop before receiving the basketball.

Off-Ball Players Must Be Prepared to Shoot:

On establishing strong scree, the pick-and- roll techniques will engage the defenders and confuse them. To prevent a pass the screener will move backward to rotate the defenders toward the basketball and take the advantage of moving.

Bring in the Best Rim Protector of the Opposition:

If youre facing a team with a strong rim protector, have the player that the team is guarding move out to set the screen and break the Rim protection.


Q. What is a pick in basketball?

A. A basketball move when a player lays a screen before cutting toward the hoop to receive a pass.

Q. What is a pick and pop in basketball?

A. A modernized version of the classic pick and roll is the pick and pop. Instead of rolling toward the basket, the player setting the pick walks to an open area of the floor to accept a pass from the ballhandler for a jump shot (pop).

Q. What is the importance of pick and roll in basketball?

A. Pick and rolls are successful mostly because they set up advantageous matchups for the offense. If the Pick n’ Rol is executed by a point guard and a center run will lead your team to win.

Q. How do you do a pick and roll in NBA 2K23?

A. The Dribbler creates gaps, the Screener generates Separation, set your angle, Make Contact then attacks or passes. The dribbler makes the right decision

Q. How can you improve my basketball screening skills?

A. The distance between your feet and your shoulders should be a little broader. For females, cross your hands over your chest or place them behind your back to cover your groins (boys). While the screen is being set, the screener must remain still. The body needs to be vertical (should not be leaning forward or backward).

Conclusion: What is Pick and Roll in Basketball

Given that its the most frequent action in basketball, you must break it down and teach your players all the skills they need to execute it well. That information will help them if they decide to play basketball at a higher level as well as while they compete for your team.