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Basketball moves are generally individual actions used by players in basketball to pass by defenders to gain access to the basket or to get a clean pass to a teammate to score a two pointer or three pointer.
Dribbling is bouncing the ball continuously with one hand at a time without ever holding the ball. Dribbling is required in order for a player to take steps while possessing the ball.
In a crossover dribble, the ball handler changes the ball from one hand to the other using a single dribble. The crossover is a fundamental dribbling technique in basketball used to keep the ball in the hand furthest from the defender (preventing a steal) while maintaining a desired speed and heading on the court.
Between the legs
This is a commonly-used variation of the crossover in which the ballhandler bounces the ball off of the floor between his legs and catches it with the other hand on the opposite side of his body. It is used as a safer way to cross over while directly facing a defender, but requires more slowing of forward momentum than the crossover dribble.
Behind the back
This advanced dribbling technique involves dribbling the ball behind the back either once (as a form of crossover) or continuously. Dribbling once or a few times in this way can be effective in a given situation, but doing so for prolonged periods of time brings dangers of losing the ball or having it stolen and is usually only done for show.
The wraparound is like a behind-the-back except instead of the ball being thrown in a sideways direction and bouncing behind the ballhandler's back, it is swung further around the back and thrown in a forward direction, bouncing on the side or in front of the ballhandler's body. This move is mostly used when a defender lunges toward one side of the ballhandler's body for a steal. The ballhandler would then simply throw the ball around his body and quickly pass his defender.
This distinct type of dribbling can only be performed while the ball is low to the ground and with little bounce. It involves slapping the ball rapidly, either with one hand or alternating between both hands, creating the necessary rhythm of slaps and bounces needed to keep the ball bouncing.
After the dribble
The Euro step (sometimes "Eurostep") is a move developed in European basketball in which a player, after picking up his dribble, takes a step in one direction, and then quickly takes a second step in the other direction before attempting a layup. It is an attempt to evade at least one defender before attacking the basket.
Šarūnas Marčiulionis, a Lithuanian, is generally credited with bringing the move to the NBA. It was popularized in North America by Manu Ginóbili, an Argentine who arrived in the NBA from the Italian league, and has since been used by many US-born players.
The combination of a euro step and a jump-stop, the pro-hop is a move in which a player picks up their dribble with a synchronized right hand dribble/right foot step, or... a synchronized left hand dribble with left foot step. The player then rips the ball to the opposite side of their body while landing on a jump-stop. The pro hop's ability to split defenders, or throw an opposing defender off rhythm through 'change of direction speed' is a move popularized by Shantay Legans, former point guard for University of California at Berkeley.
Pro-hop Euro Step
It is a pro-hop, without landing on a jump stop. Player picks up their dribble with a synchronized right hand dribble/right foot step, or a left hand dribble with left foot step. Player then rips the ball to opposite side of their body (behind the back if skilled), takes two steps, and finishes with a reverse layup.
The power up is a move in which the player lands on their outside foot then inside foot, and powers up toward the basket. An effective move because of its balance and power resulting from a two foot gather and take off.
The pump fake is used when the player with the ball pretends like they will shoot by bringing the ball up in a shooting motion then bringing it down fast to make the defense think the player will shoot it.
The bounce pass is a fundamental and very effective passing technique. This pass consists of one player passing the ball to a teammate by bouncing the ball off the floor with great energy. Because the ball will be at ground level as it passes a defender, a successful bounce pass can easily result in a scoring assist because a bounce pass is harder for defenders to intercept. Still, a bounce pass may be intercepted due to its slower speed. Thus, a player must use his best judgment when he decides whether to make such a pass. The move has to be executed perfectly because a bounce pass may be kicked by rapidly-shifting players and might be a difficult catch for the intended receiver.
This pass is performed best by stepping towards your target with one foot, then throwing the ball out towards their chest with two hands while turning the hands over, ending with the thumbs pointing down. It is best used in the open court and on the perimeter.
An overhead pass is another fundamental passing technique. It is used by snapping the ball over the head, like a soccer throw-in. This pass is especially effective in helping to initiate a fast break. After a defensive rebound, a well-thrown overhead, or outlet, pass can allow a breaking offensive player to quickly score without even dribbling by catching the ball near the basket.
A touch pass is an advanced passing technique in which a prior pass or a loose ball is immediately redirected to another player by tipping or slapping the ball. This is the quickest pass in basketball and is therefore very effective when executed correctly.
The baseball pass or lance pass is a long pass in which the passer throws the ball with one hand, as if it were a baseball or a football. It is infrequently used, mainly to set up last-second plays off a baseline inbounding situation.
A jump pass is a pass performed while the passing player's feet are off the floor. When done intentionally, usually when a teammate gets open during the shot, it can sometimes confuse the defender, causing him to believe that the passer is shooting instead of passing. At times, however, it is done as a result of the player having their shooting lane blocked and often leads to the player turning the ball over to the opposing team. This kind of pass is risky to execute, and the chances of perfectly passing the ball to an open teammate are considerably low, as it leaves the offensive player very vulnerable to turnovers.
Also known as a no-look pass, the blind pass is performed when a player looks in one direction but passes the ball to his target in another direction. Blind passes are risky and infrequently attempted, but when done correctly, can confuse the defense. The no-look pass has been popularized by players such as Pete Maravich, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Jason Kidd, Rajon Rondo, Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and Steve Nash.
Behind-the-back passes are passes dealt to a target behind the passer's back. Usually done to confuse the defender, behind the back passes can either be bounced off the floor or passed directly to a teammate's chest. However, most behind-the-back passes are direct. Earl Monroe was famous for this move. Steve Nash uses this move often, and Chris Webber is famed for using this move down in the paint.
Introduced with much hype by Jason Williams, the elbow pass is one of the most difficult trick passes to execute. The elbow pass serves as a devastating complement to the behind-the-back pass and can be used with various no-look elements. Most effective on a fast-break, the elbow pass entails what appears to the defender to be a simple behind-the-back pass, but as the ball crosses the passer's back, the passer hits it with his elbow, redirecting the ball back toward the side it started on and hopefully leaving the defender(s) amazed and out of position. Williams was able to pull off this pass at a full sprint during a Rookie All-Star game, but most players have trouble hitting the ball with their elbow while standing still.
Two person game
Give and go
"Give and Go" is an offensive play that involves passing the ball (give) and then running (go) to an open spot to receive the ball back, usually near the basket, for an easy score. This play can be effective when the defender pays too much attention to the ball instead of the player who moves after passing the ball. This is also known as a "One-Two" in street ball.
Pick and roll
"Pick and Roll" is an offensive play in which a player stops to screen (block) a defender for the teammate handling the ball and then slips behind the defender to accept a pass as the handler makes a move towards the basket. In the NBA, John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz are the quintessential pick and roll tandem and used this play to great effect in the 1990s. Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire when playing for the Phoenix Suns proved to be extremely effective at the pick and roll throughout the 2000s. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan of The San Antonio Spurs and Blake Griffin and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers are currently among the best pick and roll tandems.
From the initial position of the pick and roll maneuver, the player who receives the ball has many different options as to whether he/she passes it, or fakes and then goes for a jump shot.
A backdoor play is when a player without the ball gets behind the defense and receives a pass for an easy score. This can be executed if the defenders are unaware of the open space behind them. Also, when a defender strongly commits on defense (e.g. tries to steal or deny a pass), they are vulnerable to a backdoor play. This play is most notably used by good shooters like Ray Allen of the Miami Heat or Rip Hamilton of the Chicago Bulls.
An alley-oop is an offensive play which involves one teammate lofting the ball up near the rim in anticipation of another teammate jumping up to catch and dunk it. Because this move requires both teammates to know what the other is thinking, the alley-oop is a rare but exciting play.
A layup is a two point attempt made by leaping from below, laying the ball up near the basket, and using one hand to tip the ball over the rim and into the basket (layin) or to bank it off the backboard and into the basket (layup). The motion and one-handed reach distinguish it from a jump shot. The layup is considered the most basic shot in basketball.
An undefended layup is usually a high percentage shot. The main obstacle is getting near the rim and avoiding blocks by taller defenders who usually stand near the basket. Common layup strategies are to create space, releasing the ball from different spots or using an alternate hand. A player tall enough to reach over the rim might choose to perform a more spectacular and higher percentage slam dunk (dropping or throwing the ball from above the rim) instead.
To play a safer layup, you can hold it with two hands; that way it is harder to block and you take two steps, that distinguishes it from the jump shot.
As the game has evolved through the years, so has the layup. Several different versions of the layup are used today. Layups can be broadly categorized into two types: the underarm and the overarm. The underarm layup involves using most of the wrist and the fingers to 'lay' the ball into the basket or off the board. The underarm layup is more commonly known as the finger roll. Notable current NBA players who rely heavily on the underarm finger roll are Mike Bibby and Dwyane Wade.
Finger-rolls today have many forms, including the Around the World which involves a complete circle around the player before the layup and a variety of faking in the approach to the rim. A classic example is a play by former Kings point guard Jason Williams during his time with Sacramento, in which Williams brings the ball behind his back with his right hand, in a fake of a back pass, and then brings it front again with the same hand for the finish (reminiscent of Bob Cousy who pioneered the move).
The other layup is the overhand shot, similar to a jump shot but from considerably closer range. Overhand layups almost always involved the use of the backboard. Players like Scottie Pippen (formerly of Chicago) and Karl Malone (formerly Utah) have used this move to great effect.
A reverse layup is a layup that is finished on the opposite side of the court's split-line, than the player began the attack on.
A finger roll is performed when a player shoots the ball with one hand during a layup and then lifts his fingers, rolling the ball into the basket. The rotation produced provides the ball with a soft touch, and the ball will roll around the rim and then drop into the basket. Former San Antonio Spurs guard "The Iceman" George Gervin was known for having one of the best finger rolls in the game along with Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are other notable practitioners, while current NBA star Jason Kidd is renowned for his smooth finger rolls as well.
The tear drop, also called a runner or a floater, is usually performed by undersized players (mainly point guards). A player usually starts the layup procedure a good distance away from the basket. The ball is generally released earlier and in a higher arc than the normal layup. The ball should be away before the taller defender has the chance to block it. The purpose of this shooting move is to make the defender miss blocking the ball as the ball is released from the hand one moment sooner than expected. It is so-named because the ball drops down from the high point of the arc like a falling tear drop. Gary Payton of the Seattle SuperSonics and John Stockton of the Utah Jazz during their primes, the former in the mid-to-late 90s and the latter in the early-to-mid 90s were considered to have the best tear drops in the game. Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs frequently uses the tear drop with great success. Antawn Jamison of the Los Angeles Lakers has one of the most highly effective tear drop shots in the league despite being a power forward. Ben Gordon of the Detroit Pistons, Juan Carlos Navarro of FC Barcelona, Steve Nash of the Los Angeles Lakers, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, J.J. Barea from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls are currently known for the tear drop move.
Power drive is a continuous shooting move in which a player stops dribbling and makes a huge leap forward, while securing the ball in both hands from the dribbling hand, then making a layup. The move is generally used as a layup because the huge movement coming from the leap provides the momentum for the player to jump forward for a layup. The move is a great way to squeeze the player under the basket for a fast layup.
A double clutch is a move associate with a layup or a dunk; it is a change of ball position in mid-air (similar to the "up and under" move, but performed while the player is in the air). It is effectively used by many players, especially those who are more athletic.
A bank shot in basketball is a shot that relies on the ball bouncing off the backboard and into the basket. It is frequently used for mid-range jump shots from around a 45° angle and layups. It is not commonly used for long-range shots or shots from the middle or near the baseline. The purpose of using the backboard is to try to hit the backboard at an angle, thus slowing the speed of the ball and increasing its chances of falling into the hoop. Researchers at North Carolina State University found that bank shots may be 20 percent more effective up to a distance of about 12 feet than direct shots. Another term for a bank shot is "off the glass." NBA players known for using the bank shot often are Sam Jones, George Gervin, Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Scottie Pippen, and Kobe Bryant.
Putback and tip-in
A putback describes a situation where a player secures an offensive rebound, then immediately scores a basket. If the player secures the rebound while in the air, for the shot to be considered a putback, the player can land on the ground before shooting, but cannot dribble before taking the shot. If the player does not secure the rebound but instead taps the ball into the basket, it is considered a tip-in. There is a point where the difference between a putback and a tip-in is subjective (e.g., a one-handed rebound in the air followed by a shot before touching the ground). A putback jam is a spectacular alternative to the tip-in, where the ball is slam-dunked off the rebound in the same motion. Josh Smith and Kenyon Martin are the perfectors of the putback jam. It is also a primary source of scoring for All-Star center Dwight Howard, who led the NBA in dunks in the 2008–2009, 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 seasons.
Triple threat is the position when a player facing a defender receives a pass but has not dribbled yet. The offensive player's feet are slightly wider than shoulder width and slightly on the balls of his feet, his knees flexed, with both hands on the basketball in front of him or almost resting on his thigh, presenting the defender with an opponent able to move in any direction. One foot is held as the pivot and the other slightly ahead. From this, the player can choose from three options: to jump-shoot, to dribble (drive) past the defender or to pass it to a teammate. There are also options to get the defender out of his defensive stance by using jab steps and pump fakes.
A jab step, also known as side step, is performed when a player holds onto the ball before dribbling while his non-pivot leg performs a jabbing forward or side motion. This move is used to test defender's defensive weaknesses and stance. A combination of the pump fake, the drive, the shot and the crossover drive can be performed along with the jab step to lure the opponent out of his defense. New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is well known for taking the jab step, as was 13-year pro Kiki Vandeweghe. When he does this, the defender falls off from his defensive stance, creating a space between him and the defender, allowing him to take a quick mid-range jumper, a three-pointer, or a drive "to the lane."
A pump fake (also called a shot fake) is a feigned attempt at a jump shot, restrained before the feet leave the ground. The pump fake is a fundamental move in basketball, used to cause defenders to jump (known in basketball slang as "lifting" the defender) or be shifted off-balance. Its main applications are in the low post area, where a player is much more likely to have his or her shot blocked. On the perimeter, it is useful in creating open lanes to the basket by "showing" the ball enough to entice a defender to attempt to block or steal it, allowing the dribbler to penetrate easily. Kobe Bryant is known to be a master of the pump fake.
An offensive move intended to produce a foul call on the defensive player. A typical strategy is to drive into a defensive player whose feet are not stationary. When the two players make bodily contact, a blocking foul can be called on the defensive player. If the defensive player has a set position (i.e., both feet are stationary and arms are not in a downward motion), the contact can result in a charging foul against the offensive player (this is known as taking the charge for the fouled defensive player). Another way of drawing contact is to pump fake and then jump towards the defender, make contact and then shoot; this gets you to the foul line. If you make the basket (often made in the paint), you get the basket and one foul shot.
To "post up" is to establish a position in the low post, the area near the basket below the foul line, usually in order to take advantage of a smaller defender. The offensive player usually faces away from the basket, so that his body can protect the ball from the defender. From this position, options such as spinning or backing down the defender to close in to the basket for better scoring opportunities become available.
Up and under
The up and under is a move consisting of two parts: a shot fake (the up) and a step-through (the under). First the player with the ball fakes a shot by thrusting the ball above his head as if to take a shot, then when the defender jumps in an attempt to block the shot, the offensive player steps by him and attempts a clear, unguarded shot.
The hook shot is one of the most effective inside moves, but it is also quite difficult to execute. A hook shot begins when the player puts his body between the ball and the opponent. He then releases the ball towards the basket with his outside hand in a "hook" motion. The hook shot and variations such as the jump-hook and skyhook are effective because they are very difficult for the defender to block, although it is harder to hit the shot with precision. The advantage the hook shot offers is the space it creates between the offensive player and his defender. This extra space can reduce or eliminate the advantages enjoyed by a taller defender. The hook shot is most often used by post players because it is difficult to make the shot from a distance. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the NBA's all-time leading scorer by using his almost indefensible skyhook.
Turnaround jump shot
When a player posts up, in order to shoot he has to turn around to face the basket. This can be done by turning in the air, timing the jump shot when the defender is not likely to jump and challenge the shot. Though a fade-away version of this move was perfected by Larry Bird and Dirk Nowitzki, players such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kevin Garnett are also well known for it.
A fadeaway shot is a variation on a set jump shot in which the shooter attempts his shot leaning backward, creating the effect of "fading away" from his defender. This makes it more difficult for the defender to contest the shot. The fadeaway usually has less range than a regular jump shot, because the ball has backwards momentum due to its inertia, making it somewhat tougher to project the ball over long distances. Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Karl Malone, and Steve Nash are famous for their use of the fadeaway. Wilt Chamberlain was criticized for his frequent use of the fadeaway jumper, since the follow-through usually carries the shooter away from the basket and out of rebounding position.
Also called a "reverse pivot," the drop step is a move in which the player posting up takes a back step on the side of a defender behind him and spins to that side to gain leverage. Shaquille O'Neal used his large frame and powerful body to use the drop step to great effect.
The double pivot involves faking twice on one direction with the ball and then going the opposite direction. "Thinking twice is the way to go."