DEFENSE AGAINST THE DEFENDER
Breaking down a defender is one of the most important skills you can learn on the offensive side of the ball. With the proper tools, an offensive player can have even a quality defensive player on his heels forcing him to react to what the offensive player does. Here are 5 moves that are difficult for defenders to deal with one-on-one that should be worked on to maximize your offensive production.
Thanks to the prominence of the European style of play, the Euro-step has become one of the most effective and most-talked-about moves in recent years. Begin by setting up a pick and roll and dribble your defender into the screen. Next, split the two defenders (your defender and the one setting the pick), pushing the ball between both defenders as the help defense closes you out. After that, you will likely be in a one-on-one situation with a post player or a defender trying to help from the outside. As you move toward this defender, take a long lateral step one way followed by a long lateral step the other way and finish at the rim.
Another effective move when trying to get past your defender is the crossover dribble. Generally, the crossover should start with you dribbling the ball with your dominant hand while facing your defender, using your body as a barrier. When getting ready to change directions, step to your strong side to make your opponent move in that direction. Once your opponent leans in that direction, push off with your outside foot (the side you are dribbling on) and crossover with a quick, low bounce right in front of your defender to the opposite hand. Quickly take a step with your weak foot to get around your defender. Once you are past your defender, drive directly to the basket. There are several variations of the crossover dribble, such as the standard crossover, behind-the back, and between-the-legs, all of which can be done by using the same basic steps.
Sometimes, the best move is the simplest move, and the one-dribble pull-up is simple and one of the most difficult moves to defend. Take one hard dribble to move your defender toward the spot that you want to go, pull up abruptly, rise up and shoot. One key to being successful with this move is which leg that you plant with before shooting. Many players plant with the foot that corresponds with the direction they are moving. However, you should plant with the opposite foot of the direction you are moving to maintain your balance. By stopping abruptly, your defender’s momentum should create plenty of space for you to get the shot off. After you plant your foot, square your body up and shoot. This move allows you to pick the spot that you want to shoot from, get there quickly, and get a clean look at the basket before going up with your shot.
The turnaround jumper is one of the oldest and most effective moves in basketball and is most useful when playing against an opponent of similar size. It is not difficult to master if you learn the proper footwork. To have success with the turnaround jumper, you need to sell the move inside first. Start by using your pivot foot to back into your defender and fake a move toward the hoop. If your defender goes for the fake, spin away from the basket. After you spin away from the basket, there should be plenty of space to get your shot up.
Another variation of the turnaround jumper is the fade-away jumper. The fade-away is helpful, particularly when you are up against a taller defender, and can give you the extra separation needed to get your shot off cleanly. You use the same basic technique for a fade-away as you do for a turnaround jumper, but instead of going straight up with your shot, you jump back (fade away) from the hoop, creating even more space between you and your opponent. It’s important to develop your turnaround jumper before working on the fade-away, but it’s best to have the ability to use either move, depending on the situation.
The more moves you have at your disposal, the more difficult you will be to defend. Any of these moves can be developed with hard work and repetition, and if you can master these moves, it is guaranteed to make you a more dangerous offensive player.