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Six perimeter moves for reading the defense

This is an excerpt from Pete Newell's Playing Big by Peter Newell & Swen Nater.

Reading the Defense for Perimeter Moves

Beginning at the low-post block on the right side of the floor, the player steps in front of the defender with the right foot, pushes off with that foot, and accelerates toward the intersection of the free throw line extended and the three-point circle, creating space. The player receives the basketball from the point. Because the defender has left space, the player uses a front pivot and faces the defender.

Basketball is a game of counters. A team's offensive and defensive reactions are counters to what the opponent has presented. If a team offense is not designed to use counterstrategy against defensive tactics, that offense will be stopped. On the contrary, the team that is trained to read and react quickly will be unstoppable.

Reading and reacting in the one-on-one situation is no different. Players must learn to recognize what the defense is taking away-and thereby read what the defense is giving away so that the offensive player can take quick advantage. The following moves are all based on read-and-react strategy.

Move 1-Front Pivot and Drive Baseline With the offensive player facing the basket, the defender moves in and leaves room on the baseline side for the drive. The player crosses over with the left foot, swings the basketball to the right hip for protection, and takes a long step past the defender and toward the basket (see figure 7.1). In most cases, in order to take the straight path to the basket, slight contact between the players occurs. That is good. The offensive player should brush the opponent, though not too much. The offensive driver must be aggressive. Contact favors the offense.

Move 2-Front Pivot and Drive Over the Top This move is made in the same situation as the previous one, but the defender is shading toward the baseline side, leaving just enough room for the offensive player to drive toward the middle (see figure 7.2). Footwork is a little tricky here because when initiating the drive, some players are tempted to pick up the right foot, or pivot foot, and cross over with it, using it for the first step of the drive. This should be avoided because it welcomes a traveling violation. The first step of the drive should be made with the nonpivot foot-the left foot in this case-and the dribble should occur just before the right foot hits the floor.

The move should end with a layup on the opposite side of the basket (a left-handed layup, jumping with the right foot). In games, a player may seldom be able to drive that far without encountering defenders along the way, but for training, ending with a layup is good footwork practice.

More Excerpts From Pete Newell's Playing Big