CLEVELAND, Ohio — Like a straightforward selection of jazz music, the pick and roll offense is an NBA staple with many levels of complexity and opportunities for creativity.
And newly-minted Cavaliers backup point guard Deron Williams is among the league’s best at playing the strings to perfection.
Williams, a five-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA, has a knack for knowing exactly where to lead a teammate with a pass, how to find the open spot-up shooter or when to pull up and knock down a jumper of his own.
Early this season while playing with Dallas, Williams was among the league leaders in points per possession off of pick-and-roll situations at 1.2.
According to Synergy Sports, Williams generates better than half of his offense from pick-and-roll situations, finding exactly the right shot for both his teammates and himself.
Though his field goal percentage has dipped in recent seasons, Williams still shoots better than 47 percent from the floor in pick-and-roll action, according to Synergy.
Here are some of the ways that Williams can attack the opposition through pick-and-roll action.
High pick and kick
Williams drives to the top of the paint and causes the secondary defender to commit. His pass to an open spot-up shooter is accurate, on time and in rhythm for an easy jumper. Picture a wide-open Kyle Korver catching this pass with plenty of space to shoot.
Pick and pop
Williams recognizes that the screener’s man has sagged back into the paint, leaving him open at the top of the lane. An extra dribble causes the bigger defender to commit, and a hook pass is right on target for the easy shot. Picture Channing Frye setting the screen and fading beyond the three-point arc for the open look.
Roll to the rim
When the defense tries to trap Williams out of the pick and roll, the screener immediately recognizes the play and rolls to the front of the rim. Williams fights through the trap and delivers a perfect bounce pass to the cutter. Picture Derrick Williams finishing at the rim off a feed from Deron Williams like this.
Williams is an expert at drawing the defense away from the roll man. Watch as he dribbles to a neutral location on the floor in order to get the screener’s man to commit for just a fraction of a second too long. Picture LeBron James taking off from just inside the free throw line after grabbing a nifty no-look pass like this.
Pick and lob
Williams will have a variety of athletic bigs to choose from when he’s able to penetrate. Here, an extra lateral dribble brings the defender away from the rim, and takes away the ability to recover and deflect the pass. Picture Tristan Thompson rolling to the rim and crushing one of these passes with a two-handed dunk.