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2013 EuroBasket: Tyrese Rice makes all the right decisions in the pick and roll against Latvia

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With the FIBA EuroBasket tournament underway in Slovenia and with six 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.

Former Boston College scorer Tyrese Rice has found himself a home in European basketball, carving out a successful career professionally and making his debut with the Montenegrin national team after securing a passport earlier this summer. Rice has led the team to a successful start in EuroBasket, winning their opening game before dropping their second game to Latvia by one point.

Rice showed against Latvia that he can shred a pick and roll defense, as he made every right decision based on how the defense was playing. He took jump shots when available, drove to the rim and fed the screener when the defense cheated toward him. Although it didn’t lead to a win against Latvia, teams are going to have trouble defending this action if Rice plays like he did today.

The first pick and roll sequence had Latvia sag off the action with the screener’s defender to try to take away penetration and not force the defender into a tough spot by having to hedge on the screen. However, he was too far back, which gave Rice plenty of space to release the uncontested jump shot.

The frame below shows the amount of space given to Rice out of the ball screen right before the release of the shot. This defense is often utilized but the screener’s defender needs to be a step or two closer to the three point line. This will still take away dribble penetration and allow the recovery to the roll man while being able to contest a jump shot. Latvia didn’t execute well here and they gave up an open shot.




Rice did a great job throughout the rest of the game of reading the defense and taking the jump shot when the defense played too far back of Rice coming off the screen. The video below shows several examples of this and can be contrasted against the Latvian defense when Rice was able to find the roll man.

When the Latvian defense converged on Rice, he was able to find the roll man for the layup attempt. After giving up the early three point shot to Rice, Latvia does a much better job executing defensively initially, as the defensive player is close enough to contest a jump shot opportunity while in position to recover to the roll man.


The play breaks down shortly after that though, as there is either a mixup in scheme or communication. The help defender should be recovering to the roll man after he slows down the ball handler and allows his teammate to recover. He did his job to slow down the action and now needs to get back to take away the pass to the roll man.

Both defenders stick with Rice however and with no weakside rotation, the screener is left wide open for an easy layup after the assist from Rice.



No matter what the defense did, Rice was able to make the right decision for the positive outcome for the Montenegro team.  Although it didn’t result in a win, Rice had a great offensive game and showed teams that they need to have their pick and roll defense well organized to have a chance to slow him down in upcoming games.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

September 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm

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