Language of Basketball. Pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop, isolation

VTB-League.com presents Part V in the Language of Basketball series, highlighting the words and phrases every basketball fan needs to know. Together with detailed explanations, we've provided clips from the VTB United League to illustrate each concept.

Today's edition covers three new terms: pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop and isolation.

The pick-and-roll is executed by two players. One player sets the pick for his teammate with the ball. After both defenders move toward the ball, the player who set the pick rolls to the basket, where he receives the pass and gets an open shot.

Traditionally, the center sets the pick and receives the pass from the point guard for an easy two points at the basket. But there are plenty of variations on the pick-and-roll in modern basketball. For example, the guard might have an open shot after using the pick, or, he might decide to drive to the basket himself. Pick-and-rolls are also often used to create defensive mismatches and give the team on offense an advantage.

The pick-and-roll is one of the easiest ways for the team on offense to gain an advantage. There are lots of different ways to defend against the pick-and-roll, but none guarantee success. That's why the pick-and-roll is still extremely popular and used by every team.

The pick-and-pop is a variation on the pick-and-roll. In this scenario, the big man doesn't roll to the basket, instead popping out to the perimeter. Once he gets the pass from the guard, he often has an open look at the basket.

This combination is not as effective or popular as the pick-and-roll, but more and more teams are adding it to their repertoires. The pick-and-pop has also had a major impact on the game. contributing to the trend toward stretch power forwards and centers that can knock down the '3' on occasion and aren't always stuck in the paint.

In the VTB United League, almost every team has at least one dangerous perimeter shooter in the frontcourt.

In fact, CSKA forward Andrei Vorontsevich led the league in 3-point shooting last season, beating out several sharpshooting guards. Other big men like Sergey Monia, Konstantinos Kaimakoglou, Kaspars Berzins, Travis Peterson and Rolands Freimanis also take regular advantage of the pick-and-pop. 

Isolation (or iso)
This is when a player on offense tries to get by his defender one-on-one and score, while his teammates look to stretch the defense and provide as much space as possible.

Isolation plays are most often used by teams with individually talented players that combine athleticism, speed and ballhandling. Players like Keith Langford and Sonny Weems, for example, can simply overpower defenders and drive through them to the basket. Tyrese Rice and Aaron Jackson, on the other hand, are more likely to rely on quickness than strength when going one-on-one.

Isolations are common at the end of close games when each team's star tries to win the game on a big shot. Calling for an iso can also be a smart move when a player on offense has a clear mismatch.