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Tricks and Treats


Crafty ways to get by your man


In the NBA, players can dominate in a variety of ways, from unstoppable athleticism to unconscious shooting from deep. For fans however, a special place is reserved for the crafty players, who thrive on nifty, unexpected moves and an endless supply of fakes. These tricksters can send their defender running the wrong way and dance their way to an open basket. Here are some moves you can pull off in replicating their games.


Eurostep: This was formerly an uncommon maneuver, popularized by Sarunas Marciulionis, but has now become a staple of every guard’s arsenal. Even bigger players have begun to incorporate the move into their game, with Giannis Antetokounmpo pulling off a particularly devastating variant. You can bring the ball high to avoid a smaller defender or go low and wide to avoid taller ones, or even side-step around your man when he is positioned to take a charge.


Step backs: Another decades-old move that has become all the rage today, the step back draws the defense out even when you are unable to drive past your man. By forcing the defender onto his or her back foot with a drive and then pushing back to create space, you get the defender to over-commit either way. James Harden is a master at the move, often using it in combinations to send the defense spinning.


Hesitation: The hesitation move forces the defender to play you close. By starting and stopping and playing at different speeds, you can make an athletic defender play at your pace instead of rushing to get off your shot. If you are able to drain the pull-up jumper consistently, you can try a pump-fake variant of the hesitation move just like Stephen Curry to draw tight defense before blowing by and finishing with a variety of floaters and finger-rolls.


Spin moves: This classic move has yet to go out of style, and for good reason. When timed to perfection, you can make use of your defender’s momentum to go the other way and leave them no room for recovery. Tony Parker is still a maestro of the move at an advanced age, while Pascal Siakam illustrates how bigs can spin effectively in the post as well.