The Jurassic Pick & Roll: A Brief Overview

Before we start exploring the pick & roll through the lens of Jurassic Park, let's quickly review the basics of this play. In basketball, the pick & roll involves two players on offense: the ball handler and the screener. The screener sets a pick (or screen) for the ball handler, who then uses the screen to create space and attack the defense. The screener then "rolls" towards the basket, hoping to receive a pass from the ball handler for an easy score.

Now that we've established the foundation, let's see how Jurassic Park can help us understand and teach the pick & roll to beginners!

1. The T-Rex: Setting the Pick

In Jurassic Park, the T-Rex is an imposing and powerful dinosaur, striking fear into the hearts of the characters (and viewers!). In the pick & roll, the screener must embody the spirit of the T-Rex, using their size and strength to establish a solid pick.

 Positioning and Timing

Much like the T-Rex lurking in the shadows, the screener must carefully position themselves on the court. They should be close to their teammate (the ball handler) and set the screen at the right angle to create space. Timing is also crucial - the screener must set the pick just as the ball handler is ready to make their move, ensuring maximum effectiveness.


One of the most memorable scenes in Jurassic Park involves the T-Rex's earth-shattering roar. While the screener doesn't need to roar, communication is vital in the pick & roll. The ball handler and screener must signal to each other before the play begins, making sure they're on the same page and ready to execute.

2. The Velociraptors: Using the Screen

The Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are known for their cunning and agility, making them perfect metaphors for the ball handler in the pick & roll. After the T-Rex (screener) sets the pick, the Velociraptor (ball handler) must use their speed and intelligence to navigate the screen and attack the defense.

Reading the Defense

In Jurassic Park, the Velociraptors are skilled hunters who can read their prey's movements. The ball handler must do the same, observing how the defenders react to the screen. Are they going over or under the pick? Are they switching or staying with their original assignments? By reading the defense, the ball handler can decide whether to drive, pass, or shoot.

Change of Pace

The Velociraptors' ability to change direction and speed at a moment's notice is essential in the pick & roll. The ball handler must be able to switch gears quickly, accelerating or slowing down to create separation from their defender and exploit any openings in the defense.

3. The Brachiosaurus: Rolling to the Basket

The Brachiosaurus may not be the most intimidating dinosaur in Jurassic Park, but its size and presence are undeniable. The screener must channel their inner Brachiosaurus as they roll towards the basket, using their height and reach to create a target for the ball handler.

Creating Space

After setting the pick, the screener should "roll" to the basket, keeping their body between the defender and the hoop. This creates space for the ball handler to pass or shoot, while also putting the screener in a prime position to receive a pass for an easy score.

Finishing at the Rim

Once the screener catches the ball, they must channel their inner Brachiosaurus and use their size and strength to finish at the rim. Whether it's a powerful dunk or a soft layup, the screener must be ready to convert the opportunity created by the pick & roll.

4. The Triceratops: Defending the Pick & Roll

In Jurassic Park, the Triceratops is a formidable opponent for any predator, thanks to its horns and protective frill. On defense, players must adopt the mentality of the Triceratops when defending the pick & roll, using their physicality and determination to disrupt the play.

Fighting Through Screens

To defend the pick & roll effectively, players must be prepared to fight through screens set by the opposition. This requires strength, determination, and persistence - much like the Triceratops fending off attackers in Jurassic Park.

Communication and Help Defense

Just as the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park had to work together to survive, defensive players must communicate and help each other when defending the pick & roll. This could involve switching assignments or providing help defense to cover the rolling screener.

5. The Dilophosaurus: The Art of Deception

The Dilophosaurus in Jurassic Park is known for its deceptive nature, luring unsuspecting victims into a false sense of security before unleashing its venomous attack. In the pick & roll, players can employ similar tactics to keep the defense guessing and create scoring opportunities.

Fake Screens

The screener can pretend to set a pick, only to slip towards the basket without making contact with the defender. This "fake screen" can catch the defense off guard, creating open shots or driving lanes for the ball handler.

Misdirection and Counter-Moves

The ball handler can also use deception to their advantage, employing misdirection and counter-moves to confuse the defense. For example, they might pretend to use the screen, only to change direction and attack the opposite side of the court.

Jurassic Park in the NBA Playoffs and Beyond

Basketball is a dynamic and exciting sport, and the pick & roll is a fundamental play that has stood the test of time. By using Jurassic Park metaphors, we've attempted to make the pick & roll more accessible and engaging for beginners. Whether they're playing in youth leagues or watching the NBA Finals, fans of all ages can appreciate the strategic and athletic beauty of the pick & roll.

So, the next time you're watching an NBA game or playing basketball with friends, remember the lessons of Jurassic Park. Channel your inner T-Rex, Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, and Dilophosaurus to master the pick & roll and take your game to new heights.

Now, go out there and dominate the court like the dinosaurs once dominated the earth!