The Mikan Drill

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Purdue’s use of the pick and roll against Duke

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You can often tell the initial game strategy of a team from the first set they run. Two posts ago, we saw how WFU seemed committed to getting the ball to Eric Williams (which they abandoned and lost) and in the 2010 Sweet 16 game between Purdue and Duke, we see a similar pattern. Purdue opens the game with a pick and roll set designed to take advantage of the lack of lateral quickness of Brian Zoubek.

I have pulled two plays from this game that show how Purdue ran the pick and roll. The pick and roll is a staple of nearly every college team(and pro team, for that matter) so this will not be the last post on it. I will attempt to show how teams run it effectively, how they run it poorly, and how teams defend it. Let’s start with a few basic talking points about this set:

– The most important key to the pick and roll is repetition in practice. The premise behind the play is to take what the defense gives you. Both the ball handler and screener must be able to make a quick read on whether to drive, roll to the basket or pop out for a jumper.

– This repetition will also help develop chemistry between teammates. With countless repetitions, the duo will become more comfortable with each others movements and tendencies and they will become harder to stop.

Now let’s get to the clips:

The first set ran by Purdue is a pick and roll with E’twaun Moore with the ball and JaJuan Johnson setting the screen. Notice the action by Chris Kramer, as he sets two screens before the pick and roll. This is designed to get the defense moving as well as disguise the pick and roll. It will be alot harder to defend if the defense is not set and looking for the screening action.

Johnson sets the pick for Moore to drive to his right, his dominant hand. Moore does not drive right off of Johnson, which allows Kyle Singler to fight over the top of the screen, cutting off the lane. However, Zoubek also hedges out on Moore, even though it is not necessary. This leaves Johnson wide open on the roll.

Looking at this frame, we see that Johnson has a clear path to the basket. Kramer has his man sealed in the post, giving Johnson a line to the rim. He chooses to roll to 17 feet instead for the jumper. Although Johnson was a 51% 2 point shooter in 2009-2010, this number is likely inflated as many of his shots came within 15 feet. For the NCAA tournament, Johnson shot 6-17 (35%) outside the painted area. This includes his 2-6 performance from outside the lane against Duke.

Looking back on the game, I feel as though Purdue had a solid strategy with the pick and roll but executed it poorly. They settled for too many jumpers instead of rolling to the rim. Duke did have a size advantage, but their bigs had a tendency to foul. Here is an example of a more successful pick and roll:

Johnson passes the ball to the wing and immediately follows his pass for a screen. Miles Plumlee hedges hard on the ball, and Johnson makes the correct read and dives to the basket. Mason Plumlee is a step late getting over and fouls Johnson.

This was a much better set for Purdue. Duke hedges on ball screens a majority of the time and relies on the help defense under the basket to cover the roll man. Johnson rolled hard to the basket and as a result, drew a foul since the help defense was late. He played to his strength instead of a weakness. This was an improvement over the first play as it drew a positive result for Purdue.

Purdue can be dangerous this year with the pick and roll if Johnson has improved his outside shot. They showed flashes of brilliance last year running it and can be even more dangerous this year. I will try to update this with a new post when I see them play in the 2010-11 season and try to determine if they showed a progression or regression in their skills.

Written by Joshua Riddell

July 20, 2010 at 8:11 pm

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