Lakers Run a Quick Hitting Pick & Roll, Part 2

Darius Soriano —  December 17, 2015

Last week we broke down a nice pick and roll set the Lakers ran against the Spurs. The set started out of a Princeton formation with a two-guard front, but incorporate a dribble hand-off and flowed right into a pick and roll. The action set up a rhythm 15-footer for Lou Williams which he knocked down.

It should be noted Williams’ attempt is not the most analytically friendly shot. Mid-range jumpers are the ones defenses want to surrender and that’s exactly what this action produced. However, it is also worth noting that is a spot on the floor Williams has hit two-thirds of the shots he’s taken this season (he’s 4-6) so you can live with that every once and a while.

In any event, as I mentioned in the post, the Lakers did not run that action again against the Spurs. They did, however, run it against the Bucks on Tuesday night. And this time they ran it for Russell (rather than having him trigger it) and it produced a much more favorable shot:


The set up is the same as the one we previously highlighted, only this time Clarkson brings the ball up and then dribbles towards Russell to initiate the hand-off. After getting the ball, Russell works in tandem with Sacre who slides up the lane line to set a screen. Russell, coming to his strong hand would look to turn the corner, but Bucks’ big man Miles Plumlee does a good job hedging out hard to stop any potential drive. This hard hedge creates the passing angle Russell exploits to hit Sacre in stride for an easy dunk.

While it’s easy to focus on the action between Russell and Sacre, what’s also important here is the action occurring on the weak side. Notice Clarkson and Randle work a nice two man game where Clarkson signals Randle to come and set a back screen. Now watch how Randle’s man reacts. Once Randle takes his angle to set the pick, his man follows him up the lane line and, in the process, abandons his responsibility in the paint. If you’re wondering why Sacre is absolutely wide open and gets an uncontested dunk, Randle’s man vacating the restricted area is the reason.

These are the off-ball subtleties the Lakers lacked and/or have not been executing well early in the season. But they are also the little actions built into sets which create easier shots and put the defense into positions where distractions and blown assignments can occur.

I do not think I’m alone when I say these are the types of positive steps forward I am looking for as the year advances. More minor tweaks within the offense, execution which continues to improve, and young players working in tandem to help make each other better. Sure, it was only one play, but it can grow into something much bigger than that.

Darius Soriano

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to Lakers Run a Quick Hitting Pick & Roll, Part 2

  1. This is the analysis I have come to love on this site. It makes me a much smarter fan when watching following games.

    The young guns are learning how to play with teammates who have as much talent as they do.


  2. Thanks for the analysis. I could not understand why Sacre was so open on the roll to the basket. I thought maybe it was due to the late night partying by the Bucks. Princeton sets can create great looks around the basket and do not always need several seconds to set up.

    So the winning strategy going forward is free passes to gentleman’s clubs for the visiting teams and more passing by the Lakers.


  3. By the way, that was a nice shuffle that Sacre executed after receiving the ball. You cannot travel if you dunk.


  4. It’s interesting how sacre actually looks like a good player just because of being on the floor with Russell

    It’s a bit early but clarkson and russell on the floor together doesn’t seem to work well, I’ve noticed before the coach changed things and thought it was just because of a bad coach, but most of the problem with them together is they don’t play good Defense together as a guard combination, im not totally sure of my analysis here though