The eastern conference finals was a little bit disappointing for me as a Celtics fan.
To be honest, even as I sit here as an anti-Miami fan, I can’t help but be a little bit saddened by the eastern finals even just as a basketball fan.
1) Race at your defender in a straight line. Anytime you can you should attack on the basketball court in a straight line. The best of the best do it: Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and the best at it, Lebron James. Attacking straight at a defender forces the defender to react and retreat. If they don’t do both, they are in a lot of trouble (just ask any defender how helpless they feel when someone comes straight at them full speed). As you attack, you simply want to go straight at the defender and then pick one hip to attack; if they move to stop you from penetrating by that side, you cross over (still going as straight as you can) and finish. If they don’t stop you when you attack the first hip, simply go by them without making any other wasted movement and score. Start attacking off the dribble in the half court and open floor and watch the floor open up.
2) Get To The Foul Line More. Knowing the foul situation of the game (in the bonus) can get you some free points. While you don’t want to force the issue and take unnecessary shots, you should always been aware of the situation. If your team is in the bonus or double bonus, look for opportunities to get to the basket and force the other team to have to stop you (either by good defense or by fouling). It puts pressure on the defense and forces them to have to make plays.
3) Use Shot Fakes. If you use them, use more. Shot fakes are great, especially if you use them when receiving a pass in shooting range. Shot fakes force the defense to react. It makes them make a decision whether they are going to play your shot or not. If they do, make the proper read and go by them. If they don’t, no harm done. And the best part about shot fakes is that they take virtually NO skill at all to do. Most of it is simply doing it.
4) Use reverse pivots when crowded. Remember that reverse pivots create space. If you are crowded by the defensive player, using a reverse pivot will open up the space you need to be able to operate. As with shot fakes, pivoting requires minimal skill and mostly just effort. Pivots should replace dribbles, in particular when you’re already in a good offensive position. Don’t bother wasting dribbles that will take you out of a good offensive position when you can simply work your defender by using reverse pivots to open up the space you need.
5) Treat Your Dribbles Like Mulligans. This goes along with #4 above; don’t use your dribble unless you need to use it and with a purpose. Too many times young players like to dribble simply because they can or they don’t know what else to do. It’s like a nervous habit: ‘oh I’ve got the ball and no one is open immediately so I might as well dribble.’ Instead learn to value your dribble. Treat it like a mulligan in golf. Don’t use your dribble unless you NEED to use it to go somewhere better on the court or to create something better. Practice this by giving yourself a minimal number of dribbles in the half court. I like 3 dribbles. It should take you no more than 3 dribbles from almost any spot in the half court before you can create a better opportunity for either yourself or a teammate. If you’re taking more than that you should reevaluate your read or the situation. Saving dribbles will allow the offense to keep moving, minimize your risk of turnover, and allow you to make better reads (passing, shooting, and dribbling).
There you have it, start implementing those 5 skills into your game today and you’ll see an immediate impact!