What Is a Pick and Roll in Basketball? The Correct Answer Is Here!

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The pick-and-roll is one of the most effective and popular plays in basketball.

Every great NBA player, such as Kyle Lowry and LeBron James, has mastered the technique of this play. 

It is also the play that various players learn when they first pick up the ball.

Now, let’s read on to discover!

What Is a Pick and Roll in Basketball?

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Pick-and-roll is one of the effective plays in basketball.

In this classic play, a player will become a “screen” for his teammate handling the ball. The objective of this play is to give the offensive team an advantage.

This play is usually utilized by a guard handling a ball and a bigger or taller player, either the forward or center, setting the pick. However, it can be utilized by any duos.

It is one of the most effective plays as it relies on defenders to communicate where and who they’re defending and match up great against various offensive players within one single possession.

While it is a relatively easy play type, it is typically run at all basketball levels. It isn’t only due to how easy this play is to perform but also thanks to the creativity and vast amount of variation that it allows for.

History of This Play? 

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This play’s origin might be greatly older than many think.

By now, you should know, “What does pick and roll mean in basketball?” It is time to look at its history.

Although this play may have been famous recently, its origin might be greatly older than many think.

The phrase “pick and rolls” was not recorded until the 60s, but the concept was first created by Barney Sedran and Nat Holman in the 1910s. Sedran and Homan served for some early professional teams and made some key concepts, including the pick and rolls.

But this play did not become popular in the world of basketball until the 1980s, when it was made famous by some dynamic duos, such as Karl Malone and John Stockton or Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.

Nowadays, this play is utilized by nearly all basketball teams in the NBA in some types and variations, especially when players keep developing versatile techniques and skills that improve the offensive scheme variability.


Why Is It Called a Pick and Roll? 

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The name “pick and rolls” refers to what happens during this play.

Now you should know, “What is a pick and roll play in basketball?” But why does it have that name?

Like other plays in a basketball game, the name ‘pick and rolls’ is simply referring to what happens during this play. It consists of a ‘pick’ first and then a ‘roll’.

But this term can also describe more than just that specific play type and can be utilized to refer to the rest of the main play’s variations.

Is This Play Effective?

This play is effective as it creates some different chances to move forward. 

The offensive player can move toward the basket, and they also can pass away from the main action to other offensive players or rotate out to take a shot from the outside. 

How Many Variations of This Play

There are two main variations of the traditional pick and rolls, including:

Pick and Slip

This variation works best when the screener’s defender predicts the screen and helps too early rather than staying between their player and the basket.

Pick and Pop

This variation is extremely effective if you have one post player who can knock down the three-point shot at a high percentage.

What Types of Pick and Rolls Are There?

Here are 11 kinds of “pick and roll” play that coaches should be aware of.

  • Top Pick and Rolls.
  • Side Pick and Rolls.
  • Elbow Pick and Rolls.
  • Corner Pick and Rolls.
  • Single Drag Pick and Rolls.
  • Horns Pick and Rolls.
  • Double Drag Pick and Rolls.
  • Flat Pick and Rolls.
  • Step Up Pick and Rolls.
  • Spread Pick and Rolls.
  • Spain Pick and Rolls.

Who Are the Best Pick-And-Roll Duos in the NBA?

Utilizing the eye test and analytics, we have made a list of the best duos in the NBA in 2022- 2022 when it comes to this play.

  • JaVale McGee and Chris Paul (Phoenix).
  • Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker (Phoenix).
  • John Collins and Trae Young (Atlanta).
  • Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana).
  • Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum (Portland).
  • Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell (Utah).
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee).


Basketball is not a one-on-one game. Instead, players must work together on both defense and offense to score as many times as possible and limit the points scored by the opponents. 

This play is one of the most effective plays and is used heavily in today’s matches. Now that you know what is a pick and roll in basketball, can you count how many times it’s used the next time you watch a basketball game?

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