Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers' rookie, has taken over nightly highlight shows with his vast array of finishing moves. Whether the opportunity comes off lobs, in transition or as the result of a perfectly executed backdoor cut, the power forward has left just about everyone wanting more.
While Griffin has become a regular on SportsCenter somewhat recently, one of the staples of the NBA for some time now has been the pick-and-roll. The play became prominent during the '90s and its usage has since increased exponentially.
There are still some teams that don't use it all that often, but there are also teams that are completely reliant on good execution of the play.
For those unfamiliar with this aspect of the game, the pick-and-roll is a play that normally involves a guard and a forward or center. The guard usually has control of the ball on the perimeter with a big man setting a screen.
After using the pick, the ball handler has several options: He can drive to the basket if there's an opening or pull up and shoot, feed the ball to his teammate who, after setting the screen, is now rolling towards the hoop or find another open teammate.
Many screeners are also now adept at hitting longer-range shots, and instead of heading to the rim they can slip to the side where they are often open for a jumper. This is known as a pick-and-pop, a subtle variation on the pick-and-roll.
Thanks to Synergy Sports Technology, us lowly fans now have access to statistics that had previously only been available to teams.
Using the numbers provided by this service, we're able to see how often players run certain plays—such as the pick-and-roll—and gauge their effectiveness.
For the purposes of this ranking, we'll not only look at a player's field-goal percentage on pick-and-rolls, but also at the number of makes and/or attempts he has. Just as NBA'ers are unable to qualify for percentage lists on three-pointers, free throws and field goals unless they make a certain amount of those types of shots, players need to convert at some frequency to be considered for this list.
Keeping this in mind, we can then go about determining who the best option is for each team when the coach decides he'd like to run a pick-and-roll.
And just to be clear, the guy setting the screen will be known as the pick-and-roll man while the one controlling the rock is termed the pick-and-roll ball handler.