Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dominate the Post

The post area is where most of the inside points come from in every basketball game, mainly because it is near the basket. Dominated by big men like centers and forwards, the post area is always the most dotted section of shots made and attempted in the statistics board, owing to the high chances of the shots to go in.

However, the post is also where the big defenders like to bask around. Getting the ball near or right within the post area is relatively easy, but the scoring part is where the degree of difficulty increases because of the clogging defense from opposing big men. But then, offensive players still go to make some points from the post, as there are a lot of ways to score.

Centers and forwards like Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Carlos Boozer are among the prominent post players the world has seen. O’Neal uses his tremendous size and upper body strength to outmuscle his defenders and score big on dunks and hooks. Pippen and Tim Duncan use their quickness and excellent jumpshooting skills to score. Olajuwon used his famed “Dream Shake”, a series of head fakes and deceptive spins to lift his defenders and rake in easy points.

Experienced post players have different means to score. But for those who are just starting out, here are some of the basic post moves you can use:

Lane to Jump hook / jump shot – after receiving the entry pass at either elbow from the top of the key, you then do a fake to the baseline, pivot to the lane and do a jump hook or a jump shot. Very effective against smaller and slower centers and forwards, this move is widely used by Duncan of San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Garnett of Boston Celtics, and Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas Mavericks.

Baseline drive to Dunk / Layup – if the pass from the wing is received above the elbow (or at the middle hash marks), you can fake a spin to the lane, pivot towards the baseline, do a power dribble, then lay or dunk the ball in. Shaq of the Phoenix Suns and Boozer of the Utah Jazz are frequent practitioners of this move.

Back Down to Jump Hook / Dunk / Jump shot / Layup – used effectively by post players with height and strength advantage, this move entails of backing the defender down near the basket from the perimeter then do either a quick spin to the baseline or the lane. If the defender plays you loosely, you can power your way and do a dunk or a layup. If he stays close, you can either do a quick jump hook or a jump shot.

Jab step to Jump shot – often used by post players with effective shooting skills, post players immediately face their defenders after receiving the ball and do a jab step to either left or right, then rapidly rises for a quick jumpshot.

Being a good post player does not entail dunking the ball all the time. Yao Ming and Rasheed Wallace, for instance, prefer to shoot from the perimeter more than going inside. But if given a better opportunity to score from the paint, there’s no doubt that they will.

For starting post players, practice a lot, especially on the jumpshot and passing. Being able to score from the perimeter makes a post player a big offensive threat to the other teams. Post players with good perimeter shooting skills could stretch the post defense and open a lot of scoring opportunities for slashers and cutters to score from the blind side.

Given a few more pointers and a lot practice, dominating the post will seem like second nature to you.