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How to: Beat Your Defender


NBA

How do you deal with a particularly pesky defender?


Some of the best defensive players in basketball are like leeches, sticking tightly to you wherever you go. No matter where you drive or cut, they are right there with you. It can be hard to shake them off and even if you are willing to give the ball up, it can render you ineffectual throughout the course of a game. To ensure proper spacing for your team, everyone needs to present a scoring threat. How can you get buckets in the face of intense defense?


Pick-and-roll: The most basic play in the playbook is common for a good reason. A solid screen can help to create space for both you and your teammate, and open up a shot or a driving lane depending on how the opponent plays you. Importantly, it can also help to force a switch, allowing you to exploit a mismatch and force the top defender onto another assignment.


Off-ball: There is no on-ball play that is more effective in creating space than an off-ball play. If a defender is simply bigger and faster, it can be hard to shake them with the ball. It is easier to take advantage of the reduced attention and pressure in off-ball situations, through smart cuts and off-ball screens. This way, the defender may already be half a step slow by the time you catch the ball.


Post up: Rather than simply running back and forth endlessly, the smart basketball player knows when to stop and when to go. It is generally more straightforward to receive the ball with your back to the basket, where you can use your body to establish position and to shield the ball, before making your move.