The reason the pick-and-roll has long been one of the most successful plays in basketball is that it forces the defense to make choices. How will you guard the ball-handler coming around the screen? How will you prevent a passer from getting to the screener, and does that change depending on whether he rolls or pops? Where do you send help from, and how easy is it for the helper to recover to his man?
All of these choices have to be made in split-seconds, and then they have to be executed perfectly in order to prevent a score. Naturally, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds, and it sounds pretty difficult in the first place. This has scarcely been more evident than it was on Thursday night, as Joe Ingles tore up the Denver Nuggets’ pick-and-roll defense to lead the Utah Jazz to a road victory in a game where they were without all three of their primary point guards in Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto.
In this week’s edition of Last Night, In Basketball, we break down how Ingles manipulated the help in Denver’s pick-and-roll coverages all night, finding seven of his 10 assists out of pick-and-rolls.