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Under the Radar, Part I


Underrated plays in the NBA


For the countless NBA fans all across the planet, some plays have become iconic images that represent the never-ending entertainment value that the League provides. From James Harden’s signature step-back and Stephen Curry’s long-range bombs to LeBron James’ trademark tomahawk dunks and chasedown blocks, these are moments that every fan looks forward to witnessing. If you cast your net a little wider though, you will find a few less prominent plays that are worth looking out for.


JJ Redick / Joel Embiid handoff: Redick is one of the deadliest shooters in the League, while Embiid is a shooter’s dream. The Cameroonian center is a lethal offensive weapon on the block and the perimeter, but gladly sacrifices his shots to put his body on the line for his teammate. His rock-solid screens, combined with the cerebral off-ball cuts and quick release of Redick, render this an unstoppable play, no matter how many times they run it.


Pascal Siakam’s spin move: The Raptors forward has bamboozled opponents with his offensive versatility in a breakout season. With his mobility and length, he presents a match-up nightmare wherever he plays, and nothing is more representative of that than his patented spin move. He has the ability to pull it off on the move or in the low post with impeccable timing and footwork, and a devastating array of counter-moves and fakes. 


Rodions Kurucs’ backdoor cuts: The Latvian rookie is not a traditional star, playing mainly off the ball instead of taking his man one-on-one. As such, he largely featured for Barcelona’s reserve squad, but he has exceeded expectations in his first NBA season through a combination of timing and smarts. With the isolation abilities of the Nets’ backcourt, featuring D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Shabazz Napier, Kurucs makes his living by cutting at the right moments. If you ever see the Brooklyn guards being trapped off the dribble, you can be sure that the 6-foot-9 forward is rushing in along the baseline for an easy flush.