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2013 FIBA Americas: Uruguay adjusts to the PNR of Jamaica

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With the FIBA Americas tournament underway in Venezuela and with four spots available for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, we’ll look at some offensive and defensive strategies from this tournament. Follow along on ESPN3.

It seemed as though it took Uruguay a few minutes to adjust to the game speed of the tournament, as their game against Jamaica represented their opening game but Jamaica’s second. It allowed Jamaica to jump out to an early lead but Uruguay eventually fought their way back to a two point win.

Part of the reason that Jamaica was able to get the lead early on was their ability to execute the pick and roll and get a bucket or draw a foul. While Jamaica looked strong out of this set in the beginning of the game, Uruguay looked sluggish and unable to react to the quick pace of the game. By the second quarter, they had changed their strategy and mitigated the effect of the pick and roll.

First, let’s look at how this play worked for Jamaica in the first quarter. Uruguay began by hedging on the ball handler, as seen below. Uruguay was clearly concerned with the dribble penetration of Jamaica’s guards, so they hedged on the ball screen to slow down penetration.



When the screener rolled to the basket, the help defender had to step up to cover the roll man. This left a Jamaica offensive player wide open for the three point shot. This allowed Jamaica to open the game with an open three point make.



When the help defender didn’t step up, the big man had an open cut to the rim, which ended in Jamaica drawing several fouls out of the rolling action. With the hedging strategy in place, if the hedging player waited a beat too long, the help defender had to decide whether to slide over to the roll man or give up the open three.

Jamaica also found some success in rejecting the ball screen and bypassing the hedging defender entirely. After recognizing the strategy employed by Uruguay, Jamaica’s ball handlers began to reject the ball screen and drive away from the screen if the defense cheated too much toward the screen.

In the second quarter, Uruguay switched up their strategy and moved toward the ‘ICE’ strategy. They switched from hedging on the screen to having the screener’s defender sag off the ball screen, as shown in the frame below. They were allowing the Jamaica players to shoot jump shots while taking away the dribble penetration.


When Jamaica’s guards attempted to drive off the ball screens, they were met with more resistance than in the first quarter. They didn’t find quite as much space due to the extra defenders which led to tough shots and turnovers.


The change in defensive strategy coupled with an increase in defensive intensity allowed Uruguay to slow down the pick and roll of Jamaica and force them to adapt their offensive strategy after some early success.



Uruguay also went to a zone for an extended period of time which took away the ability of Jamaica to run the pick and roll. Jamaica shot 30% from three point territory in this game and had success when they were able to get into the paint. This game showed that teams should dare Jamaica to shoot three point attempts out of the pick and roll while taking away dribble penetration.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

August 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

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