Setting the Pick and Roll

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What’s not to love about the Pick and Roll?  Turn on the NBA playoffs and you’ll see a ball screen just about every other possession.  While there’s nothing like pacing and spacing to rev up an offense, ball screens and the actions they create, like rolling, popping, or slipping, force the defense to do something.  And that’s when an offense can truly be effective by responding to how a defense attempts to play.  We’ve talked about them before in Snaking the Ball Screen and Sex and the Pick and Roll, but teams in the playoffs continue to advance in their creativity in utilizing ball screens.  As the complexity grows and filters down to all levels, however, learning and teaching ball screens remains a basic fundamental that none of us should ignore.

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Snaking the Ball Screen

Damian Lillard

grantland.com

Did you learn anything as the NBA Playoffs advanced to the Conference Finals?  Other than the fact that the seven-game format once again makes it very difficult for the lower seeds to advance, there probably wasn’t much there, but this old dog did pick up a trick or two.  I was reminded again how important it is to keep adjusting, to keep learning, and to keep improving.  The basic pick and roll is changing before our eyes.  I find myself once again learning to adjust as I watch the best players in the world and see the back and forth adjustments made by coaches to both utilize and stymie ball screens.  In many cases, it’s the game within the game right now and as I watched each series I learned a new technique called “snaking” a ball screen.  No more is it simply pick and roll or pop or accelerate.  Now we’re going to add snaking! Continue reading

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Sex and the Pick and Roll – REMIX!

wpbf.com

wpbf.com

Sorry, I can’t get away from the subject – the pick and roll, that is; but we’re also going to re-visit the concept of sex.  There’s a method to this madness, so please hang with me better than the Heat defenders will attempt to hang with Tony Parker.  The pick and roll was a major factor in Miami’s series with Indiana.  While Indiana improved their attack against Miami’s blitzing of ball screens, I still think it led to too many turnovers and the wrong players shooting and handling the ball in the wrong spots.  Indiana needed to stay away from the temptation of the ball screen!  As the Heat move on, though, San Antonio’s use of the pick and roll presents a new set of problems.  They’ll be facing players like Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan who have built long-term, trusting relationships with each other and with their coach.  In this case, the pick and roll should play a major role in how they attack the Heat; and in a similar way, God’s ideas and plans for sex should be addressed in healthy, responsible, and committed relationships.  So, let’s hit the Remix button!

BASKETBALL – The Pick and Roll in the Finals.

Hopefully, we’ll have a dramatic and entertaining seven game series and hopefully, we’ll have a flurry of coaching adjustments to talk about.  For now, Zach Lowe does another terrific job of previewing the series in his Grantland article, NBA Finals Preview.  I agree with a lot of what he has to say, but at the time of writing this, I was only able to catch the highlights of the Spurs win in Game 1.  I’m with my family at the Creation Museum doing some research, and yes, it applies to 3 Point Wisdom, which I’ll address later. The question raised by Lowe that I’m focusing on is “How much will LeBron James defend Tony Parker and will it affect the Spurs execution of the pick and roll?”  Parker was unleashed in the 4th quarter last night, so we’ll have to see how Miami adjusts.

LIFE – Sex was given as a gift, so use it responsibly!

Many people who read my last two posts, Sex and the Pick and Roll and Should Christian Players Come Out of the Closet?, may be a little offended or put off.  You may think I’m out of touch or I don’t understand, which is accurate because there’s a lot I don’t understand.  What I do know is that everyone has seen, been involved with, or in some way been affected by sexual sin.  Take faith and God’s commands out of it (which I don’t think you can really do!) and you will still find how much our physical desires drive us.  Most of you missed this video from the early post, so I embedded it here for you to reconsider:

And that just addresses the issue of infidelity in marriage!  ANY sex outside of marriage has consequences.  Any uncontrolled thoughts and actions outside of marriage have consequences.  Many of us have a hard time relating to that.  Many of us fail to see how things we do in one moment can alter our lives down the road, but most of us have been affected in one way or the other by sexual sins, our own and the indiscretions of others.  In fact, I deal each day with my personal identity that has been shaped by the sins within my family.  The way I relate to my wife, to my kids, and to those with whom I work is continually shaped by the defense mechanisms that grew from the weaknesses of those around me.  Take just a moment to consider how your own thoughts and actions, whether you can justify and deem them as permissible or not, can potentially affect and shape relationships throughout your life.  The idea of “If it feels good, do it,” may not hold as much truth as you think.

FAITH – The Spurs, Creation Museum, and Sex.

Here’s how this all comes together for me.  The Spurs, with their long-term, committed relationship between an experienced coach in Greg Popovich, an aging champion in Tim Duncan, and a uniquely gifted ball-handler in Tony Parker are ready to handle the intricacies of the pick and roll.  It’s not something to just throw up against the defensive-minded Heat.  Without control and responsibility, it can be overused and lose its efficiency.

God tells us the same thing about sex.  He gave it as a gift to be an important element within a God-designed marriage, but it requires self-control and responsibility.  Now, that doesn’t mean anything to you if you don’t believe in the validity of the Bible, the very source of God’s commands, but also His loving guidelines for living a happy, productive life in this world as mentioned in this version of 1 Corinthians 6:16:

Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.”   (The Message)

I know all of this is true because I have complete trust in the Bible, every single word of it.  As my family goes through the Creation Museum we’re going to learn even more about the evidence and truth of the Bible that has been challenged by our society.  As we see the evidence of the truth of the Genesis account of Creation, we’ll be encouraged even more to trust everything that God has to share with us!

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