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Ricky Rubio and The Spain Pick and Roll

How Rubio will make Utah’s offense tick in 17-18


Here on the Dunk, the Spain pick and roll has been mentioned frequently since the Jazz acquired Rubio. Some of you are familiar with the Spain pick and roll, others are not. We’ll get to visual examples in a moment, but first, here’s a quick written explanation of the Spain pick and roll from the ringer:

A newer variation of the high pick-and-roll has taken the NBA by storm this year. Gibson Pyper of Half Court Hoops calls it a Spain pick-and-roll because it was first spotted in Spanish league play. NBA teams like the Wizards have used Spain in the past, but it’s become more prominent lately. The Spain pick-and-roll occurs when a screen is set for the ball handler, then a third player sets a screen on the player defending the man rolling to the rim. A normal pick-and-roll is used to create a two-on-one advantage — adding a third player essentially turns it into a three-on-two.

(The article can be found here. It’s a great read.)

Below are a few examples of the play. There’s a lot to look at here, but pay attention to the back screener in each example. That action is the key that unlocks everything that comes after.

Option 1: dump off pass to the big man for a shot at the rim

Option 2: ball handler takes it to the rim for a shot at the rim

Option 3: kick out to the back screener for an open three

Obviously, Rubio’s poor outside shooting changes the way this play needs to be run, as defenses can sag off a bit more than usual. but Rubio’s shown that his superb passing can make up for his lack of off-the-dribble shooting - and he’s actually decent in spot-up situations, ranking in the 61st percentile in that area, which means that quick passes around the perimeter will almost always result in an above-average look from 3.

Coach Nick breaks down the Spain pick and roll here:

So, there's a quick look at the Spain pick and roll. This will be a very small slice of the pie for the Utah Jazz offense, but expect a lot of different looks for Rubio in the pick and roll. Quin will find creative ways to create offensive spacing.

And the Utah Jazz will still have one of the best defenses in the NBA.