The Mikan Drill

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Posts Tagged ‘pick and roll defense

2013 FIBA Americas: The flaw in Canada’s PNR Defense

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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.

Canada struggled in the second half of their second game in the FIBA Americas tournament, eventually falling to Puerto Rico by sixteen points. Puerto Rico was aided by shooting 38% on three point shots (10-26) which helped them to the big win, which could prove crucial in a tie breaker scenario.

Puerto Rico exposed a flaw in Canada’s pick and roll defense, which led to several of the three point attempts by Puerto Rico. Canada will need to adjust this defense from their big man in the upcoming games if they want to compete for a World Cup bid.

Canada uses the ‘ICE’ strategy to defend pick and rolls, which has their big man sag off the screen and attempt to string out the ball handler while not allowing them to turn the corner off the screen. Canada’s big men struggle at times with this concept, playing too far back, which allows the ball handler to break the defense down.

The beginning of the first clip below shows Andrew Nicholson executing solid ICE defense as he strings the play out and doesn’t let the ball handler dribble below the three point line. The play continues and Canada gets into a pick and roll set from the opposite side of the court. Levon Kendall is guarding the screener but is a few steps below where he should be which allows the ball handler to pull up for a three point attempt.


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Written by Joshua Riddell

September 1, 2013 at 2:47 am

Beware the blow-by: A look at 2 Big East endings

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From @earlyonions

Here’s an almost identical play on back-to-back nights in the Big East Tournament. The set-up: a high pick-and-roll near the top of the key. The defender anticipates the pick, tries to go overtop of it… and watches as his man blows right past him to the rim.

Written by Joshua Riddell

March 10, 2011 at 2:43 am

A new wrinkle in Pitt’s pick and roll defense

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We saw earlier this season the struggles Pitt had with the pick and roll defense (see here). I saw them throw in a new wrinkle with their pick and roll defense against Villanova, which seemed to work pretty well. It involves Gary McGhee hedging on the screen, with the help defender rotating to the roll man, instead of forcing McGhee to recover back to the roll man.

Here we see Mouphtaou Yarou setting the screen for Maalik Wayns. McGhee hedges on the screen and this is where the wrinkle comes in to the defense. McGhee has struggled with recovering to the roll man in the past, so Pitt has worked harder to rotate the help man over to the roll man.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

February 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm

The pick and roll defense of Deniz Kilicli

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One of the staples of the Villanova offense is the pick and roll, which they run with several of their guards. West Virginia is a team set up well to defend the pick and roll, as their big men are athletic enough to switch the screen. Here is a clip from early in the game that shows Cam Thoroughman switching the pick and roll and picking up Corey Fisher as he drives to the basket. Thoroughman can move his feet and stay with Fisher and not allow him to get a shot off.

However, Deniz Kilicli is not quite on the same level as Thoroughman or John Flowers in terms of perimeter defense. He makes an early mistake on the pick and roll but makes a nice adjustment later in the game.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

February 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Examining Minnesota’s defense of Jon Leuer

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Although Jon Leuer ended with 16 points in an eight point home victory, he shot only 4-13 from the field, thanks to good defense by the Gophers, led by Ralph Sampson III, flanked by fellow big men Trevor Mbakwe and Colton Iverson.


The first step to defending Leuer tonight was to bother him with Sampson’s length. First, look where Sampson forces Leuer to catch the ball. He pushes him off the block, which makes him take a tough jumper.

Leuer pivots and faces the basket in a one on one situation against Sampson. After taking a hard dribble to his right, he goes up for a shot but Sampson is there to deflect the attempt. Sampson used his height and length advantage to hinder the shot opportunity.

Leuer ventures down to the block again in this clip and Sampson once again bothers him with his size. Even though Leuer tries a fadeaway jump shot, Sampson manages to bother Leuer and force a missed shot.

Pick and roll defense

We will see later how Minnesota defended the pick and roll with Leuer and a guard. In this play, Leuer handles the ball with a screen set by Jared Berrgren. With Colton Iverson guarding Berrgren, they simply switch the pick and roll to not allow Leuer any space.

This is a smart play since Leuer is such a threat from beyond the arc. By switching the pick and roll when another big men sets the screen, it gives Leuer no space to shoot and does not leave Minnesota with any defensive mismatches.

Great team effort

There are several things to discuss with this play. Here we see how Minnesota defended a typical pick and roll with Leuer. They hedged hard quick and scrambled to get back to Leuer.

Here is the hedge by Mbakwe, cutting off Jordan Taylor from getting to the lane.

Mbakwe then scrambles to get back to Leuer to cut off the passing lane. With Leuer popping to the three point line after setting the screen, this is crucial in not allowing Leuer to have an open look.

What else I love about this defensive effort is how fluidly Mbakwe switches to Leuer. With Sampson caught in the paint on help defense and Leuer curling around unguarded, Mbakwe steps away from his man to guard Leuer.

Sampson recognizes this and takes Mbakwe’s man without pause. This is great recognition by both players, as Mbakwe recognizes the offensive threat and steps up to neutralize Leuer.

The Gophers could not come away with a win but they had a great gameplan to defend Leuer.

Written by Joshua Riddell

December 29, 2010 at 3:41 am

FIBA update: Robert Sacre

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As promised, I took a look at Robert Sacre at the FIBA championships in Turkey. He has played 15 minutes in 2 games so it is a bit of a small sample size but something I can work with.


Going up against the professionals has proven to be a challenge for Sacre. Although he is not playing against big time centers, the big men from Lebanon and Lithuania have proven to be formidable competition. They are a long way from the centers he sees in the West Coast Conference so let’s see how he handles this new level of competition.

This first clip shows he is just being outmuscled by the professional big men. He is being bumped off the spot he wants to be in and hindered from where he wants to go. His current strength is sufficient for the WCC but he will have to bulk up (or learn to use his current strength to his advantage).

The second clip shows you he just does not quite know how to fend off big defenders in the post. He is easily knocked off balance, and misses the entry pass. He needs to use his frame and be more assertive in posting up so he is not knocked off his spot as easy. I think some of this will come with practice against more experienced players.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

August 31, 2010 at 12:45 am

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