When you play pick and roll basketball, it's critical to be able to read the defense and make the right play. If you've been reading this blog or the forum, you know that I'm not a particular fan of leaving your feet to attempt to block a shot on the perimeter. In this highlight clip from the Rockets/Spurs game tonight, you'll see two instances where the Spurs defenders jump at McGrady which allows him to find a rolling Yao for the easy layup. Watch the video and then you can read my thoughts below.

Once the defender leaves his feet, the offense has many options. For example, McGrady could've easily slipped through the two defenders himself and attacked the basket. Of course, the easy play here was to dump it off to Yao for the easy layup.

Now, I understand that McGrady is a fantastic 3-point shooter. But if it were me, I'd rather try to trap him with the 2 defenders up top and make it difficult for him to make that pass to Yao. Or stay on the ground and show and recover. The last thing you want to do is leave your feet.

Perhaps it is a little ironic in that I would recommend Jeff Van Gundy's DVD on the pick and roll offense. After all, Van Gundy coached both McGrady and Yao the past several years and is where they most likely have learned so much about pick and roll basketball. I have a some Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy notes that might be useful, so be sure to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to download them.