The Mikan Drill

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A look at Florida’s offense, Part 1: The Side Pick and Roll

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We are going to spend two posts looking at the offense of Florida, which ranked 14th in offensive efficiency last season. Billy Donovan’s teams have always been great offensively and I think the next two posts will give you a good reason why the Gators have been so successful.

The first aspect of the offense we are going to look at is the side pick and roll. Instead of setting their ball screens in the middle of the floor, they set their ball screens on the wing, while spacing their other three players on the opposite side of the floor. Here is a shot of a standard pick and roll.

What makes this pick and roll so effective is that all 5 offensive players are dangerous. The help defenders need to stay at home because the likes of Chandler Parsons and Kenny Boynton (in the above frame) are both players which need to be respected. This gives the pick and roll space to operate. Let’s take a look at it.

One thing to watch for is how fluid the action is on many plays. If the pick and roll does not work on one side of the court, they simply reverse the ball and run it on the opposite side.

Pick and Roll – Ball handler shot

The first option on the side pick and roll is for the ball handler to get to the rim for a layup attempt. The following video shows two different ways the defense can play the pick and roll which will allow the ball handler to get to the rim.

In the first play, Parsons sees that the screener’s defender is ready to hedge on the screen. Since Florida runs this multiple times a game, opponents are aware that it is coming. Once Parsons sees the defender hedging early, he dribbles away from the screen to the rim. With his teammates spacing the floor, the help defense arrives too late.

In the second play, the defender does not hedge quickly enough on the screen. This allows the ball handler to get into the lane unimpeded for an attempted floater. This shows how Florida executes the ball screen on the wing to get easy looks at the basket for their guards. Since they run this set so much, they are very good at reading what the defense is doing and taking what the defense is giving them.

Pick and Roll – Ball handler create

The guards of Florida all had fairly high assist rates last season. Parsons and Erving Walker had assist rates above 20%, while Boynton had an assist rate of 16.1%. Part of this is due to their ability to create for others out of the pick and roll and setting up their teammates for easy baskets.

As we saw in the above video, if the defender is late to hedge or gives a weak hedge, the guards of Florida like to dribble into the lane as quickly as they can. If they do find themselves cut off by the defense, they are able to find the open man. We have seen how well Florida spaces the floor on the pick and roll and it works to their advantage in these types of plays. If a help defender sags off their man to cut off the ball handler, they leave their man open for either a three point shot if they do not close out in time or a drive to the rim if they close out too strong.

This is a big reason why they run their pick and roll on the wing. They are able to space the weak side part of the floor, opening up one side for the pick and roll action. If a help defender chooses to defend the ball screen action, they are often unable to recover properly to defend the kick out pass.

Pick and Roll – Roll man shot

The final option on this pick and roll set is for the roll man to get a shot. If the screener’s defender hedges on the screen and does not recover to roll man in time, Alex Tyus or Vernon Macklin were able to make the defense pay. Neither of these players return this season, so it will be up to Patic Young and Erik Murphy to become offensive threats in order for this pick and roll to continue to be successful.

Tyus could either roll to the rim or pop out after the screen for a jump shot. Macklin had a great jump hook which he was able to convert regularly on either block. It will be tough to replace the production that Florida was able to get out of their roll men. In order to keep the pick and roll effective, they will need their bigs to step up and force the defense to defend both parts of the pick and roll.

The side pick and roll was a big part of Florida’s offense last season. I would be surprised to see it scrapped entirely and Florida has several guards that can be effective in the pick and roll. The main unknown is whether the core big men can consistently score when they receive the ball after the ball screen. If they can, Florida will once again be a strong offensive team.

Our next post on the Florida offense will look at how they run their offense through their post men. 


Written by Joshua Riddell

October 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

One Response

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  1. “A look at Floridas offense, Part 1: The Side Pick and Roll The Mikan Drill” was in fact a marvelous blog, cannot help but wait to read
    through a lot more of ur blogs. Time to squander several time on-line
    lmao. Many thanks ,Galen

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