4 Effective Pick Options for the Screen & Roll Offense

In this introduction to the screen & roll offense, you’ll learn about a variety of screens to create mismatches on the offensive side of the floor. With North Dakota State University head coach Saul Phillips as your guide, pick up these essential pick & roll tips to give your motion offense the edge it needs – especially against those bigger teams that pressure passing lanes well.

Vertical (Vert)

With Vert, have your 5 man come up towards the top of the key and get his shoulders square to half court, looking to pick for his team’s ball handler. This kind of screen makes it hard for the 5 defender to stay with the 1 guard. It also makes defending guards nervous as they come up the court (especially as their head is facing the opposite direction).

All the while, this gives us a chance for our point guard to go 1-on-1 with a big for a few seconds. Look to eventually get two feet into the paint. In other words, dribble until someone stops you. Get in the paint, and if you don’t have a shot, stop, pivot and make a good pass back out and facing your target. From here, you can easily get back into the flow of your offense.


Many teams will eventually try to defend against the vertical screen by sitting on point guard’s right hand and then shading the big guy to the left. They will look to fight over the top of the screen. When this happens, simply re-screen them. All you have to do is cross it back over, but now the 5 defender has to cut over to cover a defender. NBA standout Steve Nash is the best at this, so we called this Phoenix. It’s hard to trap because of the angle.

The goal with Phoenix is to get the 5 man away from the hoop when you can’t go toe-to-toe with them all game. Also, you don’t necessarily have to score off of this. Instead, look to get two feet in the paint, turn and pivot, and get right into your offense.



With Pink, have your screener’s shoulders facing the sideline. We like to sprint into this screen as it’s harder for the defense to defend on the move. But be careful about moving screens, too. So as the big screener comes up from the low block to set the screen, pick the defender until it’s no longer effective. You also have a ton of options on the screen and roll as a screener. For instance, you can pop, seal, roll to the basket, or implement Pink (the threat of the screen and roll, AKA slip screen). You don’t even have to set the screen. It’s quite effective, too, especially after a defender hedges.



Finally, with Plus, instead of slipping the screen, come up, set the screen, and then go screen the next guy. This means there’s an extra screen coming and we’re gonna nail the helpside defender who’s just sitting there waiting. Through this, it will send a wide-open player off of the pick (via curl, fade, etc.). It’s also a terrific way to keep everyone involved.


The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Multi-Option Screen and Roll Offense” featuring Saul Phillips. To check out more videos featuring the pick & roll, click here

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