Change can often bring about feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and no set of players underwent as many changes as the Brooklyn Nets and their current cast of characters did this off-season (the upgrade from Jersey to Brooklyn is enough to send anyone for a loop).
With that change, you can expect that players will often fall back into their comfort zones on the floor and theoretically the moves that got them to where they are today. For some, these moves are created out of sheer talent and virtuosity, but for others, these moves represent a necessary adjustment they’ve made throughout their career to continue moving forward.
As we head into the beginnings of another NBA season, I wanted to bring you signature moves that you can expect to see some of the Nets using this winter.
(Post inspired by the incomparable Beckley Mason’s over at Truehoop.)
Deron Williams’ Double Crossover
Deron Williams’ crossover is perhaps the most lethal in the league and when he does unleash it, it is near unstoppable. This move becomes signature, however, when Williams takes his single crossover and turns it into a debilitating double. Williams’ double-cross often drives his defender to back pedal, which creates space for Williams’ feathery jump shot. This is also a testament to the leg power Williams possess as he is able to rise up after a string of dribble moves and sometimes even a slight step back. This video can be used as a case study for why Williams possesses one slickest handles in the NBA.
MarShon Brooks’ Shot Fake
Brooks uses the shot fake about as well and effectively as anybody in the NBA. A jump shooting threat, Brooks can use his shot fake to make closing out defenders fly by him, but the secret sauce is when Brooks goes to the shot fake after a dribble. Jeff Van Gundy points out that the ability to shot fake after picking up your dribble is a crucial weapon because defenders are more likely to react and this is something that Brooks does superbly. Much the same way famous pitcher Greg Maddux would keep hitters off-balance with his change-up, Brooks who is not particularly explosive, uses his shot fake to deceive his opponent confusing their timing and balance.
Brook Lopez’s Rip Hook
Adapted from the rip through move that is best employed by Kevin Durant, Brook Lopez uses the same rip through motion, but instead of coming up for a jump-shot, Brook rips through to a hook shot. With contact generally benefitting the offense, Lopez wisely initiates the contact in this move forcing lots of fouls (Career 79 FT%) and is strong enough to continue his motion after contact to finish the shot. If you notice in the video, this move almost exclusively comes when Lopez is on the left block and able to drive middle which, moving forward, the ability to use this move from both sides of the lane will be an area of opportunity to expand his game.
Andray Blatche’s Between the Legs Dribble
Maybe it’s not what you want your 6-10 center to be doing, but Blatche does have a proclivity and ability to dribble between his legs when facing up an opponent. For much of his career with the Wizards, this dribble usually left him going nowhere, but when Blatche uses the dribble as part of an attacking move it can be quite effective. As Jerry Stackhouse points out, with Blatche’s perimeter skills he should be able to pull defending centers out of their comfort zones, but if Blatche can consistently create high percentage shots from this spot remains to be seen.
Joe Johnson’s Jab Step
Much has been made of Johnson’s habit to play in isolation, but the fact remains that Johnson against a single defender is usually advantage Johnson. When Johnson was able to make wing catches with a live dribble, it was his jab step that was most devastating, which playing alongside Deron Williams will allow for less ball-handling and more live dribble opportunities. With Johnson’s height and length, he doesn’t need much space at all to get his shot off and his jab step is the perfect weapon to create just enough room to fire.