The pick and roll (or pop) is one of the most fundamental plays in basketball, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be one of yours when you’re playing NBA 2K13. But if you’re just holding down the button that calls for a pick when you’re coming up the court, you’re missing out. Not all pick plays are created equal.
The problem is one of spacing. The most basic thing you need to run a successful pick play is space: space for the ballhandler to drive the lane and space for the setter of the pick to roll to the hoop or pop to an open shot. Freeing up this kind of real estate was one reason that Steve Nash’s Suns teams of a few years ago were so successful: they’d have three shooters set up on the perimeter and then run the pick and roll through Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire.
When you just call for a pick, there’s a high probability that the other computer-controlled players are going to get in the way, either of you as the ballhandler or of the frontcourt player setting the pick. So let’s look at a great pick play called Red Angle Iso.
It comes from the Chicago Bulls’ playbook and it might be a little deceptive because it’s called an iso play. The ballhandler sets up at the top of the arc while the power forward sets up on the right low block. The rest of the team sets up on the opposite side from the PF. (We’ll run this on the right side of the floor, but it can also be run on the left.)
The PF steps out to the pinch post, roughly the free throw line extended. Now, you can pass it to the PF and this will initiate a rub handoff, where the guard who passed the ball moves just behind the PF in the hopes of brushing off his man with the PF’s body. This doesn’t work great in NBA 2K13 because the CPU controlled guard will not continue into the lane and so instead receives the ball in the long midrange without a screen being set for him. Sometimes it’s all right, but it’s not reliable.
But if instead of passing you start moving the guard towards the PF, the PF will step into setting a screen.
If it works, this is an almost guaranteed two-point drive to the lane because there are acres of space on that side of the floor with the whole team set up on the opposite side. I run this all the time in a fantasy Association with Kyrie Irving and James Harden as my guards and they both kill with it.
Bonus: If your PF is someone who can hit long shots like LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love, taking the screen and driving to the hoop sends the big man popping back out to near the three point line at the top of the arc, so it’s possible to send it back out there for an open look if both defenders try to stop the drive.
So what are some of your favorite designed pick and roll or pick and pop plays?