The Mikan Drill

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Stanford’s pick and roll defense against DePaul

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In today’s finale of the 76 Classic, Stanford took away any pick and roll action that DePaul tried to run. They did this by hedging hard with the screener’s man or switching entirely. They did not want to give the guards the edge and this mitigated the effectiveness of any pick and roll action.
In this first clip, Stanford switches the pick and roll, with the switching defender sagging off the ballhandler (#1 Mike Stovall). Since Stovall is shooting only 22% from 3 (2-9) this season, Stanford was willing to concede the perimeter shot. They wanted to take away the dribble drive of the guards, which is part of the reason they decided to switch the pick and roll.

Look at the defense of Stanford after the switch. There is nowhere for Stovall to drive the lane and he has to give the ball up.

Here is the play in real time.

In the next plays, we see Stanford execute their gameplan on pick and roll defense, by cutting off the guards and having proper help defense rotation to force tough shots.

First, watch Jack Trotter (#50) hedge hard on the pick and roll. While this is not a straight switch, Trotter is committed to cutting off the ballhandler. The screener correctly rolls to the basket and has an opening. However, Stanford plays excellent help defense, as Josh Owens (#13) steps over to cut off the basket while Dwight Powell (#33) rotates from the wing to cover the easy dump off to Owens man.


This forces a tough shot as Trotter recovers to form a wall of Cardinal defenders. While the wing man (Powell’s man) was open, it would have been tough to pass the ball to him and Stanford would rather have DePaul take that shot than a layup. Great defensive rotation by all members.

In the final clip, Stanford defends the pick and roll great again by switching to cut off the guards and having the help defenders rotate properly. Stefan Nastic (#4) switches onto the ballhandler. What makes this defense effective is that Nastic has the agility to stay in front of the DePaul player, with some help from Owens.

While Nastic is able to slow down the DePaul player, he needs some help at the basket to finish the play. Owens is there in perfect help position, defends without fouling and forces the missed shot.

Stanford’s switch of the pick and roll was effective in cutting off the dribble drive of the guards. With the big men not major offensive threats, Stanford was able to employ this strategy effectively and stop DePaul from running any useful offense out of the pick and roll.

It will be interesting to see if Stanford switches the pick and roll every game or if this was the gameplan against DePaul. Watch out for that.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

November 29, 2010 at 1:03 am

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