The Breakdown: 4/5 Pick and Roll

Phillip Barnett —  March 30, 2012

A few days ago, Darius pointed out a trend he’s been noticing where the Lakers run a 4/5 pick and roll between Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. With the help of mySynergySports, I was able to look into it and saw that they’ve successfully ran a variation of the 4/5 P&R about four times in the last few games, and all four times have had some of the same elements, and it’s those elements that we’ll be taking a look at in this edition of The Break Down.

The set is always initiated with a 1/2 pick and roll between either Steve Blake or Ramon Sessions and Kobe with Ron Artest in the corner ball side (Note: every time I saw this set run, the lineup was always point guard, Kobe, Ron, Pau, Bynum. The point guard was the only variation in the lineup when this was run). On the weak side, Pau sits in the pinch post (or free throw line extended) with Bynum on the block. On this play in particular, Pau set a cross screen for Kobe before he went over to set the screen for Blake. In other sets, Kobe has gone to set the screen without a preliminary cross screen from Pau. Regardless, the set always starts with Kobe setting the screen for whoever the point guard is with Pau and Bynum on the weak side.

After the initial 1/2 screen is set, the point guard takes a dribble in Pau’s direction and gives him the ball at either the pinch post or free throw line extended. Where you see Kobe in this picture is usually about where he stops after he rolls off the screen, but in this particular set, he cuts all the way to the block. The point guard starts heading to the corner to replace Ron while Ron starts sliding up to the free throw line extended. When Pau receives the pass, Bynum starts coming up the line to set the screen for Pau. These actions were pretty much standard of the 4/5 pick and roll sets the Lakers have been running.

In the other sets, Kobe would be around the pinch post opposite of Pau by the time Bynum starts rolling off of the screen. Ron and Blake are in positions similar to every other time I’ve seen this set run. Having those guys on the perimeter opposite of the action completely takes any help defenders out of the paint. Even with Kobe on the opposite block, C.J. Miles has his back turned to the action and the other two defenders are paying more attention to him than the pick and roll that is happing on the other side of the court. Moving the point guard to the corner is probably one of the more brilliant parts of the design of this set. When the ball is on the opposite side of a defender, the defender furthest away from the action has the most leeway in help defense, which would be the guy defending the point guard in the corner. Instead of having a small forward coming down to help, you get C.J. Watson coming down, the smallest guy on the court (he wasn’t even in position to help on this one, but you get the point).

If executed, what you end up with is a fantastic passing power forward throwing a lob to the best finisher at the rim on the Lakers and nine guys watching the big man throw one down. Further more, the best defender on the floor is the one at the top of the perimeter and would be the first guy back should a turnover or missed shot attempt happen. If the pass isn’t on target, you have Kobe at the free throw line and the best three point shooter you have on the floor in the corner wide open.

Last night, the Lakers set up like they were going to run the 4/5 pick and roll right after the opening tip, but instead sent Kobe along the baseline to pop up on the weak side with Pau and Bynum. They ran a 2/5 pick and roll, and after Bynum rolled, Kobe kicked it to the corner where Pau was standing, who subsequently lobbed the ball into Bynum. A new wrinkle, same result. Check out the play illustrated above in real time below.


Phillip Barnett


to The Breakdown: 4/5 Pick and Roll

  1. That play has worked very often. So has just about every other play this season that isn’t a Kobe ISO. His stats on perimeter isolation plays have been rather shocking compared to his career averages.


  2. Nice breakdown Phillip. The play is beautiful to watch + I am sure that it will be used successfully again. When I watched it the second time, I did notice: “what was Favors (#15) thinking about” – It could be a classic film to show at basketball camps as to what not to do on defense : ) Also, unlike the classic big/little PnR, this play is not repeatable at high frequency.


  3. Same play was ran 1st play vs Memphis, Portland and OKC. Great Play.


  4. Last night’s 1st play (I believe) was something like that.


  5. Kevin (end of last thread): I like your optimism. I brought up vodka, and you turned that into “lightning in a bottle”.


  6. Aaron 1, what are Kobe’s perimeter iso stats this season compared to career?


  7. Robert: Just following your lead partner.

    What is Mike Brown doing in this photo.

    Lebron ” Bow before thy majesty peasant”

    Mike Brown ” Yes, sorry. As you wish siya”


  8. This shot Dirk just made has to be 1 of the worst hero ball shots in the history of the game. But it went in so it’s a great shot.


  9. Don,
    I know his career ISOS were at something around 44 percent… This year he was at 37 percent a couple months ago and his overall shooting percentages are the worst they have been since he was 18 years old. And he doesn’t even get doubled anymore on ISOS. This is from the LA Times today…

    One of the Lakers’ biggest problems is Bryant’s lack of precision.

    He hasn’t shot this poorly — 42.5% so far this season — since he was a rookie, and his accuracy is falling almost every month. He was solid in January (45.5%), dropped off a shelf in February (40.2%) and fell again so far in March (40.1%).

    A lifetime 45.4% shooter before this season, Bryant didn’t see many double teams against Oklahoma City. The Thunder usually single-covered him with Thabo Sefolosha.


  10. Kevin

    Great find. Wonder how long before the entire Laker team is laughing at Brown. Really smart to hire a guy who’s entire team shut him out and tben seal it by hiring the Detroit coach who’s entire team quit on him as your assistant coach.

    Talk about bad hires! I give Mike zero chance of getting this team on his side. Especially since tbe two guys who demanded the most team respect LO and Fish are gone.

    Almost like Jimmy is trying to screw this year up.


  11. #11 from previous post. Edwin~ I remember you from the LA Times K Bros days. No surprise that when faced to survey the landscape you came over to FB&G land. But here’s a secret…The reality is that this has always been the best Laker blog extant.

    I love your passion even though I often find your posts a little jumbled. However your thoughts on using former Lakers players as the “A” team new order coaches is unorthodox and subversive but bloody intriguing mate. I like it! Won’t happen of course but not at all your standard bearer comment.


  12. I guess if we had a player like Chris Paul we could win last second games.

    He did it again tonight.


  13. One can never underestimate great coaching.

    Last year’s staff 2010 with Phil, Cleamons, Hamblen, Shaw, Person, Vitti had a combined 121 years of NBA sideline coaching. 33 titles total.

    This year’s staff of Brown, Snyder, Person, Kuester, Ham, Messitore, Vitti has 62 years of NBA sideline assistant coaching (Gary Vitti with 27 years alone). A total of 1 title (discounting Vitti’s rings). Drew has more rings than this whole coaching staff together no wonder he was showing out.


  14. Something that makes you go hmmm:


    Easier said than done, true, however the fact of the matter is the Lakers are 12-12 this season when Bryant takes 24 shots or more and 7-2 when he takes 18 shots or less. Conversely, the Lakers are 8-5 this season when Bynum takes 15 shots or more and 10-6 when Gasol takes 15 shots or more. “


  15. BigCity: The Lakers are 31-20 (61%). Let’s do some math here : ) A record of 8-5 is 62% and 10-6 is also 62%. That is hardly compelling : ) KB’s #s are more telling, however stats don’t tell the story, because we would need to throw out games where we are down by 8 pts with 2 mins + nobody can get a shot except #24. We don’t win those games either way. That said, are there some shots KB shouldn’t take? – yes. And that is as true now as it was 16 yrs ago : )


  16. Robert,
    Bad shots are not as bad when you make 40 percent of them. Kobe is 16 years into his career and is out of his prime. The eye test says he is making closer to 20 percent of those bad as opposed to near 40 percent of them. If Kobe wants to tie and surpass Jodan in terms of championships… The irony is he will have to learn to play more like Scottie Pippen and less like Michael Jordan. He has a budding young superstar who literally is destroying the league right now in Andrew Bynum. Drew is commanding double teams with and without the ball and scoring over and around them along with making the appropriate passes when called for. If Kobe uses Andrew and plays off of him his scoring average will stay close to the same as his FG percentage rises and the chance for more championships does the same.


  17. Aaron,

    Kobe in 2000-2001 had a really great big that just came off a season MVP and finals MVP. Coming into that season, Kobe didnt defer to Shaq during reg season. Until he broke his foot late in the season did he start defering until needed.

    Kobe won’t defer the offense to Drew. He should. We all do in NBA2K12 bc it is easier to score. But this is Kobe. We take the good and the bad.