Playbook: The 2/5 Pick and Roll | Magic Basketball

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Aug 23

Playbook: The 2/5 Pick and Roll

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In 2009, the 3/5 pick and roll with Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard was one of the centerpieces of the Orlando Magic‘s offense. With Turkoglu’s departure and Vince Carter‘s arrival, the 2/5 pick and roll became the flavor de jure for the Magic.

Carter’s involvement in the pick and roll not only initiated the offense for Orlando but the play was also used for him to score. Carter takes, and is still taking, a lot of heat for his underwhelming performance in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, but there’s no denying that he was an efficient force in pick and rolls. Yes, Carter settled for too many jumpers and didn’t attack the basket as much as he should have offensively, yet he usually got the job done in the 2/5 pick and roll with Howard.

Usually.

Hopefully the comparisons with Carter and Turkoglu have been put to rest. But if there’s one thing to point out between the two players when they anchored — along with Jameer Nelson — the pick and rolls, Carter took much better care of the basketball than Turkoglu did. And that means something because Carter wasn’t wasting many possessions, even if the end game (a long two-point jumper) wasn’t the result that many Magic fans desired.

With Carter at the helm last season, the Magic were more efficient on offense during the regular season than they were in 2009. This isn’t to state that Carter was the sole reason for this phenomena, though he was one of the reasons.

The 2/5 pick and roll is a very simple play, yet it has devastating effects on opposing defenses because of the personnel on the court for Orlando. Carter is the headliner of the concert and players like Nelson and Rashard Lewis are the supporting acts, because of their abilities to spot up on the perimeter. As for Howard, he is the engineer that makes it all go with his screens.

To be specific, the Magic run side pick and rolls — meaning they run them on either the left or right side of the floor. As has been stated before, note the excellent spacing by the shooters.

Click here to view the video.

Example 1:

A 2/5 pick and roll on the right side with Marcin Gortat as the screener. The Atlanta Hawks defend this fairly well since Joe Johnson rotates properly to cover Carter on the play, yet Marvin Williams is late in recovering on Mickael Pietrus. Even though Carter does make the floater, he might have been better off passing it to Pietrus for the open three. It’s, admittedly, a nit-picky observation.

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Example 2:

A 2/5 pick and roll on the left side with Howard as the screener. Howard does just enough to clip Williams as he goes over the screen and once again, Johnson does a good job of rotating onto Carter. However, this is where Carter’s athleticism (even if it’s waning) allows him to finish strong at the rim. For Magic fans, these are the types of plays they’d like to see more from Carter.

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Example 3:

Same play, different side. This time, Carter elects to settle for the fadeaway jumper. The degree of difficult on this shot is high, yet Carter makes it.

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Click here to view the video.

Example 4:

This possession is similar to Example 2, yet the Hawks do a horrendous job of rotating on Carter as he comes off the screen that is set by Howard. The befuddlement is amusing, to be frank. Oh yeah, and Carter dunks the ball.

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Click here to view the video.

Example 5:

This is where Orlando’s spacing comes into the forefront. The sole reason that Lewis has an open look at a three-pointer is because Carter was aggressive in attacking the basket on earlier possessions. As such, Johnson creeps towards Carter as he’s about to execute the pick and roll. Lewis is left open and drills the three.

Too easy.

9 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Adam Greene

I doubt that Carter will do what Turkoglu did, either. Old habits die hard.

Adam Greene
Adam Greene

@Eddy Rivera

Agreed, Carter is locked into the contact avoiding player that he has been since his injuries started. I guess I keep thinking he will notice his athletic ability slipping and start using his brain.

How about Vince start doing what Hedo used to do off the pnr with Dwight. Hedo would drive to the basket and throw up a soft scoop/hook over two defenders (one was Dwight's) making it easy for Dwight to get the tip dunk. The play almost worked like an assist. Jameer does this a bit but is more likely to throw Dwight a lob in the same situation. Can someone send Vince a tape of Hedo doing this over and over again two years ago? Maybe Vince will figure it out then.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Rick

I doubt it being a contract year will make much of a difference with Carter's performance.

I can almost guarantee that he will continue to decline as a player, which is why it's important that other players for the Magic elevate their play.

Rick
Rick

The fact of the matter is Vince is not 23-24, hes 33 turning 34 next season. Vince can't create or blow pass defenses like he could when he was younger. I am huge Vince fan but we must get him cutting to the basket more then we do now. With Barnes gone Vince must do that cause i dont see Q doing it.

But for some reason I think the 2-5 pick and roll will be effective this season cause Vince knows he playing for a contract next season. We will see the best of Vince Carter this season.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Adam Greene, @derekk

I just can't imagine Carter breaking out of his pattern with avoiding contact. Carter's free-throw rate has gone down precipitously for years, and there's nothing to suggest he'll suddenly become like Pierce and draw fouls like crazy.

I don't foresee that happening.

@Raptor

Chemistry and familiarity with each other in pick and rolls might solve that issue, though I agree with your basic premise. More involvement for Dwight Howard in the 2/5 pick and roll is vital, in my opinion.

@Ignarus

Thanks.

derekk
derekk

Deftly agree with Adam on this one. If Carter can create contact and get to the FT line like 5+ a game, then this will be very huge. Hedo had turnovers sure, but he got the FTs like crazy too. I remember him making his 15 points a game on 10 free throws bc his shot or game was off. Also, if Carter can increase his assists in the regular season, via passes to Dwight as Raptor says, or really any teammate, I would really start liking Carters game. Then for the playoffs, it'd just be do the same things he improved on finally, FTs and passing, and hope the scoring and %s are there this time (which should statistically projecting, be rather easy to beat his previous playoffs %s).

Ignarus
Ignarus

great post. love it when video examples accompany clear and insightful commentary. keep up the great work!

Raptor
Raptor

If it's one thing I don't like, it's the fact that you don't see many pick and rolls with Vince passing the ball to Dwight for the finish. I haven't seen many in neither in the regular season nor in the playoffs, and I believe that should be one of the priorities from a offensive playbook standpoint for the Magic: how can we make this work in different scenarios.

Adam Greene
Adam Greene

Love these posts. There is too little talk about the nuance involved in basketball offense, in particular good offensive systems. I think that most fans think that it's a simple case of "X player is unstoppable", when the reality is not as black and white.

I want to talk about Example 2 and why Vince Carter drives me crazy as a Magic fan who watches every game (thank you DVR). The thing that is missing from this play, the thing that the Magic need Carter to do in this situation, is contact. Carter should be jumping into the opponent and drawing a foul (possible and 1) in similar situations. Imagine Paul Pierce running this same play and you would likely see him jump into the defensive player.

Would I like to see more layups from Carter, rather than high-difficulty-fade-aways? Yes, but I think as a player whose athleticism is waning, Carter should concentrate on drawing fouls in situations like Example 2. Only good things can come from it.