Strategies on offense are constantly shifting in the world’s too basketball leagule and the VTB United League is no exception. Major changes have taken place over the past five years, impacting the amount of scoring and the excitement of the game.
The biggest change on offense in the history of the League has been the increase in pick-and-rolls to create shots. During the 2012-13 season, teams used pick-and-rolls 32.1% of the time. This season, the usage rate has grown to 41%, while some teams use the combination more than half of the time.
The reason for this trend is simple. Well-executed pick-and-rolls give the team on offense several promising options to continue the possession. It just depends on the creativity of the player with the ball. He can complete the possession or pass to his teammate who set the screen.
Which teams are most effective using the pick-and-roll?
The table below ranks the top six teams in the League by most points scored using the pick-and-roll during the 2018-19 season. There are also expanded statistics, which show how often a team uses the combination, how many turnovers while running the play and how many free throws.
%ПНР – percentage of pick-and-rolls in the offense; В/И – average number of pick-and-rolls per game; О/И – average number of points scored using pick-and-rolls per game; О/В – points per possession in the pick-and-roll; ЭБ% – shot efficiency after pick-and-rolls; %ПТ – percentage of turnovers after pick-and-rolls; %ШТ – percentage of free-throw opportunities after pick-and-rolls
Top 6 teams: CSKA, Tsmoki-Minsk, UNICS, Nizhny Novgorod, Zenit, Khimki
On average, teams in the League score 0.98 points per possession, when using the pick-and-roll. On all other combinations, the League averages 0.93 points per possession, making it no surprise three of the League’s four top offenses are represented in the table above.
CSKA leads the League in points per possession, in large part thanks to its success using the pick-and-roll. The reigning champions have plenty of talented players who can take care of the ball and set screens, and do a terrific job of maximizing each player’s strengths. Players who set the screen in the pick-and-roll score an average of 1.49 points per possession for CSKA. Othello Hunter, Andrey Vorontsevich, Kyle Hines, Alex Peters and Joel Bolomboy all average above 1.5 per possession. Many teams are lucky to have one player with such gaudy numbers; CSKA boasts five!
Tsmoki-Minsk, which averages 1.05 points per possession in the pick-and-roll, depends more on its playmakers. Devon Saddler, Aliaksandr Kudrautsau, Vitali Liutych and Stefan Moody score more than one point per possession when a teammate sets a screen.
The 3rd-ranked team, UNICS Kazan, is effective when the player setting the screen takes the shot. 4th-ranked Nizhny Novgorod, meanwhile, is effective knocking down mid-range jumpers and 3-pointers after the big man sets the screen. In other words, every team in the League has a unique approach to utilizing the pick-and-roll.
Statistics courtesy of Synergy Sports Technology