Playbook: The 1/2 Pick and Roll | Magic Basketball

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Aug 26

Playbook: The 1/2 Pick and Roll

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic have a number of pick and roll variations in their playbook. This is not a new revelation. Yet there’s one variation, in particular, that has proven to be lethal in specific situations for the Magic and that’s the 1/2 pick and roll with Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter.

Carter’s career-worst swoon in January was well-documented, as he was unable to do much of anything on offense. However, Carter’s former head coach with the New Jersey Nets — Lawrence Frank — paid a visit to Orlando in early February as a guest of head coach Stan Van Gundy to share his knowledge with the coaching staff and provide a different perspective on things. The irony is that Van Gundy intended for Frank to come sooner, but things couldn’t be worked out with both parties in either December or January. Talk about perfect timing, eh?

Hence the addition of the 1/2 pick and roll in the middle of the regular season, which was a play that Carter was familiar with from his time with the Nets.

And in the fourth quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in late February, the 1/2 pick and roll was unveiled by Van Gundy.

Boy, did it work.

One of the main reasons that the 1/2 pick and roll is extremely successful is because Carter is a very underrated low post player. Even though Carter’s athleticism isn’t what it once was, he still has the requisite strength to exploit smaller guards on the low block and score with relative ease. It’s partly because of the 1/2 pick and roll that Carter was able to hit his stride with Orlando after the All-Star break and snap out of his funk.

The play is, more or less, intended for Carter but Nelson is able to be aggressive offensively if he chooses to do so.

Click here for the video.

Example 1:

On this possession, Jawad Williams is defending Carter. Mo Williams is notorious for struggling defensively on pick and rolls, and this is where the Magic strike with the first of many 1/2 pick and rolls. The defense by both Williamses is bad, and Carter is able to get a highlight-reel dunk.

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Click here for the video.

Example 2:

On the very next possession, Carter is being defended by Anthony Parker. Nelson tries to run the 1/2 pick and roll several times, but the Cavaliers do an excellent job of foiling the play. However, Nelson makes a very tough shot — another example that great offense usually beats great defense.

If there’s one thing to note, it’s that Williams gave Nelson just enough space on the play for him to make the jumper.

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Click here for the video.

Example 3:

The same personnel is defending the 1/2 pick and roll for Cleveland and once again, they’re able to stop the play after the first couple of attempts. But with the shot-clock winding down, Carter is able to make a difficult fadeaway.

That’s a superstar shot, folks.

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Click here for the video.

Example 4:

This time, Nelson does the task of breaking down the Cavaliers’ pick and roll defense. Parker shows on the play, but he’s late in getting back and Carter is able to connect on a lefty layup. Degree of difficulty? Low.

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Click here for the video.

Example 5:

With the game in the balance, head coach Mike Brown made a wise decision and elected to assign LeBron James on Nelson to anticipate the switch on the 1/2 pick and roll. As expected, James switches on Carter and leaves Parker to defend Nelson on the perimeter. Unfortunately for Parker, he gives Nelson a little too much space to put up a shot. Nelson calmly nails the three-pointer.

7 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@J the Drafter

Bad comparison.

@Alex

That had little to do with the 1/2 pick and roll with Fisher.

Alex
Alex

@J the Drafter
Couldn't have done that poorly when Kobe shot about 30% for the series.

J the Drafter
J the Drafter

^^The Lakers did something similar, with Fisher screening for Kobe, and Ray and Rondo did a bad job covering it.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Raptor

It wouldn't have worked against the Celtics. They could have easily foiled it with Rondo and Tony Allen.

Raptor
Raptor

Favorite play or not, they never used it against Boston. I don't remember ONE occasion in which they used it.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Alex

Yeah, it was. One of my favorite plays, actually.

Alex
Alex

Would absolutely be our best play if Carter didn't shy away from contact so often. Even so, it was still really effective.