Last night, in a state of boredom, I decided to click around on a website I already use way too much: basketball-reference.com.
The goal was simple. Over the last NBA season and the start of this one, I kept noticing something when it came to power forwards and centers. Over and over, time after time, they were setting a screen and stepping back to the 3-point line.
Of course, that’s where the NBA — all of basketball, really — is going. A stretch four or a stretch five is a shiny new toy in the era of positionless basketball. But it seemed like overkill.
The pick and roll is the most simple, beautiful and effective play in basketball. Run it well at any level — in Woollen Gym, in the Smith Center or even in Madison Square Garden — and it’ll yield results. Someone will get a favorable matchup. Someone will get an open lane or shot.
The pick and pop is the opposite. The big man hangs back instead of rolling into the lane. And that’s what I kept seeing these players do. So, back to the search.