Chris Paul Can Hurt the Lakers, but Can’t Beat Them

There’s a reason why the pick-and-roll is the go-to offense in the NBA.

It’s a sequence that always subscribes to the same basic action—a player sets the pick, while the other rolls to the basket, finds an open teammate, shoots the ball himself or lays it up at the rim. It can be pure or varied because its rhythm’s and placements all serve to alternate its composition. Because the offense can be modified in a variety of different ways, each pick-and-roll sequence can still manufacture some type of advantage in the half-court, even against the more advanced defenses in the league.

Professional basketball currently relies much more on the guy running the point than it has in years past. With a class of ball-handlers including the likes of Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash and the like, the pick-and-roll when mastered and executed to perfection, becomes that much more devastating to teams that don’t have a disciplined defense.

Enter Chris Paul.

Paul’s skill-set is unlike many players in the NBA. He’s got quickness, impeccable ball-handling and outstanding passing ability. Add to that his court vision and awareness, you’ve got one of the most proficient guys in the league at executing the pick-and-roll offense.

After the initial screen (the pick) is set, each second thereafter has the potential of causing a whirlwind of problems for the opposing defenses. The longer he maintains possession of the ball, regardless of whether the opponent switches on defense, hedges or double-teams, Paul seemingly always has the upper hand. While opposing players are forced to make quick decisions on defensive so as to maintain the integrity of their front line, the heady ball handler Paul looks around in search of weaknesses.

There’s a good chance he’ll succeed in finding a way to make the opposition pay on account of their flawed defensive schemes.

Next: Lakers find a way to combat the pick-and-roll

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I believe it’s called pick and roll because the player who sets the pick then rolls to the basket looking for the pass. If he set a good pick, then he is either open as he rolls or there is a smaller player now defending him who is probably also out of position.

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