Sometimes we as coaches get so caught up in the placements and positions of players that we overlook glaring advantages. One of the reasons why PNR basketball works is because it creates mismatches on switches and rotations. The result of which can mean a significant advantage between one of your better forwards against a smaller defender. If that is the case, you want to isolate your forward against the smaller defender for a 1v1 situation making it hard for the defense to bring help.

I watched the Raptors play the T-Wolves today and one of the things I like about the Raptors is the way they isolate Chris Bosh and allow him space to go 1v1. In this sequence, the PNR results in a rotation and ultimately a mismatch between Bosh and Jaric. Here is what it looked live,

PNR to Clear Out Isolation:

The play starts off innocently enough. It's a PNR situation between Jose Calderon and Chris Bosh on the wing. The T-Wolves decide to half-hedge and rotate defenders. I say half-hedge because the ball-screen defender doesn't go to defend Bosh but instead stays on Bosh. They instead bring Marko Jaric from the weak side baseline and #4 Randy Foye comes in to take Jaric's spot on the baseline,

Once Bosh realizes he has a smaller inferior defender in Jaric checking him. He starts backing him down. At this time, #33 Jamario Moon must clear out of the lane through to the top of the key such that he brings his defender #25 Al Jefferson with him, thus spreading the floor and giving Bosh a clear lane to the basket without help defense,

This is just smart basketball. At times, we as coaches tend to over-coach the game, trying to control every possession and where players should be. What you really want to do, is get to a point where your players can run a simple play like a PNR and read the defense and make smart decisions based on what the defense is giving them.

Probably the best video out there on PNR baksetball is Jeff Van Gundy's DVD on the pick and roll offense. After all, Van Gundy has coached some of the best big-little combos in the history of the NBA. Be sure to head over to the X's and O's Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.