NOTE: Data via Synergy
Size of dot represents total possessions of each given play type


Cuts : An interior play where the finisher catches a pass while moving toward, parallel to or slightly away from the basket. This will include back screen and flash cuts as well as times when the player is left open near the basket when his defender leaves him to help with a penetrating offensive player such as in a draw and kick situation. 

Off Screens : Identifies players coming off of screens (typically downs screens) going away from the basket toward the perimeter. This includes curl, fades, and coming off straight. Selected options in this regard are typically dictated by the path the player’s defender takes. For example, when a defender chases, the offensive player may curl to the middle to create space. Or when the defender cuts inside the screen, the offensive player may fade towards the corner. Flare screens are also “off screen” but differ in that the screen is set on the perimeter and the offensive player uses the screen to get separation from their defender using a path that is somewhat parallel to the basket. 

Spot Ups : When the possession ending event is a catch and shoot or catch and drive play. Spot-up players typically have a defender closing out on them during a defensive rotation and the spot-up player has the option of shooting the ball before the defender gets to them, letting the defender fly by and then shooting or driving, or they can use the defender's forward motion against them and drive to the basket. This situation also occurs during an off screen play. Therefore, if there was no screen, we then log the play as a spot-up. Other times spot-up players seem to simply get open, perhaps because their defender sagged towards the basket or simply went to sleep. In this case, the offensive player still has the option to shoot or drive.

Isolation : When the possession ending event is created during a “one on one” matchup. The defender needs to be set and have all of his defensive options at the initiation of the play. If the defender is closing out on an offensive player such as in a spot up situation or an off screen situation and cannot get “whole” (on balance and set to defend), then it is not an Isolation play.

Transition : When the possession ending event comes before the defense sets following a possession change and a transition from one end of the court to the other. Unlike some other fastbreak definitions, Synergy’s definition allows for a considerable period of time to pass before the possession ends – for example the center can trail down the floor after all the other transition options have been explored and if his defender is back guarding the paint and so is open to shoot a perimeter shot, then it is still logged as a transition. It can also include press breaks as the ball is quickly moved from the back court to the front court.

Pick And Roll Ball Handler : A screen is set on the ball handler’s defender out on the perimeter. The offensive player can use the screen or go away from it and as long as the play yields a possession ending event, it is tagged as a pick and roll. It is important to note that pick and rolls frequently cause the defense to rotate resulting in ball movement with spot-ups, cuts or pick and pop/pick and rolls. These situations are defined in the Synergy system according to the ultimate play types that occur, but are also credited back to the ball handler as long as the defense never gets “whole” (in position to defend all 5 players). The ball handler is credited using our “defense commits” categories and displays such as “derived offense.” Pick and rolls also cause switches which can result in mismatches in the post or out on the perimeter (isolations). These plays are not credited back to the ball handler and are handled by the post-up and isolation play type categories only. 

Pick And Roll Man : 

When a screen is set for the ball handler, and the screen setter then receives the ball for a possession ending event. This action can include: 

  • Pick and rolls
    • The ball handler comes off the pick and the roll man rolls toward the basket before receiving the ball.
  • Pick and pops
    • The ball handler comes off the pick and the roll man pops out away from the basket to receive the ball.
  • Slips Pick
    • The roll man slips the pick prior to the ball handler using him as a screen, then receives the ball.