Advanced Basketball Terminology/Basic Basketball Fundamentals:
Okay so here is when things get a little….”football-esque,” meaning, the definitions don’t exactly clear up what the heck it is and you need a dictionary to understand the definitions. I’ve heard these terms all my life and understand what it is when I see it, but had no clue how to really explain it for someone else. So bear with me. What we are covering here are some of the most fundamental strategies for basketball: screens and cuts. However, because they are hard to explain, I’ve coined this section “advanced basketball terminology”
The Pick-and-Roll (aka screen-and-roll): The definition of this maneuver, courtesy of wikipedia, states:
The Pick-and-roll is an offensive play in which a player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and then slips behind the defender (rolls) to accept a pass.
Which is great if you know what a screen is and all. And it’s also not 100% accurate. Let’s look closer.
“Setting a screen” or “pick” is a fancy way of saying “blocking,” except different. Because “blocking” in basketball has a couple different meanings. (I told you this section starts to sound suspiciously complicated like football!) There are blocked shots, which means a defender slapped the ball away mid-air and blocked the ball from going into the basket (there are rules to this, also). There is also blocking vs. charging and there is a fine line between the two. We’ll get into this in the Rules & Penalties section.
For all intents and purposes, a screen is a legal blocking of another player. A screen is usually set by the big man on the court (i.e.- the center or forwards) to help the little guys get by. A screen play, or a screener, is like a tall, muscular roadblock in the middle of the court. This roadblock helps to create an “open man” or a player that is not being defended. When a player is open, it’s easier for him to catch a basket or take a shot.
A Screen-and-roll or Pick-and-roll, means that the screen was set by the big man, and the little guy was not only to slip around him and elude his defender, but he was also able to drive into the lane.
Check out the photo to the right. Shaquille O’Neal (32) is setting a screen for Steve Nash (#13) by blocking his defender, the dude in black jersey that we can’t really see. This frees Steve up for a moment to make a shot or a key assist.
Maybe an example will help clear it up: Team Hottie has the ball and their guard (let’s call him McDreamy) is moving towards the basket. Team Nottie’s guard (McUgly) is defending McDreamy very closely. McDreamy starts moving towards the basket with McUgly hot on his tail. Then all of a sudden, he switches direction slightly (cuts…) and Team Hottie’s Center (McSteamy) is right there, creating a roadblock for McUgly. McUgly has two choices: go around McSteamy and try to catch McDreamy….or abandon the chase and just guard McSteamy. Either way, there is a slight lag when McDreamy is not being defended and he is open to take a shot.
For the record, McSteamy’s real name in this position is the “screener” because he is the one blocking. McDreamy is the “cutter” because he is cutting to the basket.
Here is a great video that breaks it down with a real live moving example!
There is also the Pick-and-Pass. Remember that definition we talked about in the very beginning? That is actually the definition for pick-and-pass. First the pick (or screen) is set, but instead of the little guy freeing up to take a shot, he “threads” or passes the ball through to his teammate for the open shot. Here’s another video to compare with the last to see the difference:
Oh yeah, there are also three different kinds of screens: front screen, back screen and down screen. I’d love to say we’ll cover that later but I’m still a bit perplexed by them so here is a great link to break it down for you! Guide to Basketball Screens
Cut, Cutter, Cut-Through Play: A cut-through play is one of the most basic, fundamental plays a team can have because it helps to create an open man when the defense is swarming. A “cut-through” play allows for a player to suddenly cross the court to the other side in a very quick burst, essentially “cutting through” the defense. It’s often heard as “cutting to the basket,” which means the player burst through the middle of the lane to be open for a shot or a pass. There are 6 fundamental cut-through plays.