Made famous by John Stockton and Karl Malone, the pick-and-roll is one of the most irresistible plays in basketball. Utah's dynamic couple employed the concept to perfection and achieved extraordinary results, including multiple journeys to the NBA finals. Among other accomplishments, Stockton became the NBA's all time helps leader, while Malone retired as the second-leading scorer in basketball history. The play was so devastating that opponents were powerless to stop it, even when they knew it was coming.

Game-players can learn much from Stockton and Malone and should use the pick-and-roll with modern day megastars in NBA Live 09. For the 1st time, EA Sports has allowed users to control both parts of the play, making it an efficient weapon against any adversary. The following tips will help you perfect the pick-and-roll game, giving you the upper hand when you take to the floor.

First, it is important to understand the way in which the pick-and-roll works. The play begins with a ballhandler being guarded by a defender. Next, the ballhandler dribbles towards a teammate, who sets the'pick' by standing in the way of the defender. This creates a difficulty for the defender, as he is forced to choose between chasing after the ballhandler or switching onto the screener. Also whoever is defending the screener must help guard the ballhandler, creating masses of options for the offence. This creates another potential advantage – If the defence chooses to change, the shorter defender will then be defending the gigantic man, while the slower forward will be stuck on the rapid guard.

While the pick-and-roll is valuable in many situations, it can be maximized using the right personnel. The ballhandler should be fast and must be able to knock down the open jumper. If the defence doesn't respect the ballhandler's shot, they'll block the lane and take away the preferred option of driving or dishing to the big man. For instance, Steve Nash and Jose Calderon are excellent at running the play because both players can pass, drive or shoot after the pick is set.

Big men have more of a range when it comes to running the pick-and-roll efficiently. Ideally, they should be athletic with the facility to finish within and shoot midrange jumpers. Nash and Calderon can be paired with Amare Stoudamire and Chris Bosh, respectively, forming a couple of the most perilous tandems in NBA. It's important to be aware of your giant man's strengths and direct traffic appropriately.

To run the pick-and-roll in NBA Live 09, press and hold the left trigger ( 360 ) or L2 button ( PS3 ) to call for a pick from your gigantic man. This is most efficient when the defence is overaggressive on the ballhandler and the giant man is left open. By holding the trigger longer, your teammate will set the screen and roll to the basket more conventionally. This option works when your screener is a good shooter, and it should create wide open opportunities.

Yes, it's just one play, but the pick-and-roll can be employed to make countless simple buckets. With the right personnel and a little bit of practice, you can hinder opponents and score when needed. Use one of the most straightforward plays in basketball to become king of the hardwood.

Source by Maytreya L Cantrell