Power Ranking the NBA's Most Unstoppable Moves
Loaded with young talent and veteran players bound for the Hall of Fame, the NBA has become arguably the most star-studded professional sports league. And with that plethora of stars come a slew of unstoppable moves in each player's respective repertoire.
Beckley Mason of ESPN put together a fantastic list of the NBA’s most signature moves, so his article will act as inspiration.
Although Mason hit the nail on the head with a lot of NBA players’ signature moves, there were some omissions that deserve to be mentioned.
Some well-known on-court dazzlers fall into a power ranking of the top 10 most unstoppable NBA moves. Of course, on a game-to-game basis, any player’s signature move could be argued one of the best, but consistency is a major factor.
Respecting Mason’s well-crafted list and adding some different looks along the way, here are 10 of the NBA’s most unstoppable moves out on the hardwood.
10. Andrew Bynum's Post Moves
Although Andrew Bynum is still growing as an NBA player, he’s coming off his best statistical year by far and has proven to be one of the league’s most efficient scorers in the low post.
While pouring in a career-high 18.7 points per game last season, Bynum shot a lofty 55.8 percent from the floor (which was actually lower than his career average of 56.6 percent shooting).
Bynum has struggled with injuries and maturity issues throughout his career, but finally put it all together from a talent perspective last season en route to a fantastic year.
Whether he’s utilizing the hook shot with his left hand, his right hand, rising up over defenders for short jump shots or just flat out manhandling opponents, Bynum has become one of the league’s most devastating scorers in the paint.
Something that really stands out about Bynum’s low post game is not only his ability to work quickly before double teams stifle his progress, but also to show patience and pick his spots when the situation presents itself.
Philadelphia 76ers fans have to be thrilled to add Bynum to the roster now that he’ll be a team’s No. 1 go-to option for the first time in his career.
Last season was certainly a breakout performance for the 24-year-old big man, but next season in Philly could be even better.
9. Tim Duncan's Bank Shot
In my mind, Tim Duncan is the best power forward to ever play the game of basketball. He has the stats, the humble persona and championship rings that define a Hall of Fame worthy career.
“Mr. Fundamental” himself has carved a niche in the NBA through his devastatingly efficient bank shot. If I had a dollar for every time Duncan banked home a jumper without blinking, I’d be a very rich man.
Using the glass to an offensive advantage has become a dying art in recent years. Dwyane Wade is one of the few superstars who uses the backboard on a regular basis outside of Duncan, but Duncan is the true blue-chipper pro in this regard.
Defending against Duncan’s dead-eye bank shot is all but impossible. If he decides to put it up, more often than not that shot is going to fall.
Duncan has been knocking in bank shots for 15 professional seasons. In spite of the fact that he’s getting up there in age, his go-to weapon will be remembered for a long time.
8. Steve Nash's One-Footed Jumper
When one thinks of Steve Nash, the first image that comes to mind is probably the surgical pick-and-roll game he’s executed so well with Amar’e Stoudemire and Marcin Gortat while wearing a Phoenix Suns uniform.
Although Nash is without question one of the league’s most unselfish players, who would rather involve teammates than look to score his own points, his career shooting percentages of 49.1 percent from the field, 42.8 percent from three-point range and 90.8 percent from the charity stripe make him one of the most efficient scorers in league history.
Nash certainly has other fantastic offensive moves in his repertoire like the transition three-point shot and the scooping layup, but his one-footed runner in the lane, though unorthodox, is a thing of beauty.
By the time Nash has decided to put up this shot instead of passing the ball off to a teammate, it's already too late for the defense. Defenders are often so preoccupied with where the point guard will pass the ball, they simply end up leaving Nash wide open.
Nash often utilizes this move as he darts through the lane after coming off a teammate’s screen. The two-time MVP award winner makes the difficult and awkward one-footed jumper look easy.
Seeing Nash look for his shot instead of dishing the ball off to teammates is a rarity, but when he does decide to shoot, fans are confident he’ll find the bottom of the net.
7. Manu Ginobili's Two-Step
Manu Ginobili’s patented two-step stride to the rim makes the Argentinean shooting guard a threat to get to the bucket from virtually anywhere on the floor.
The ground he covers in just two strides is truly remarkable and rivaled by very few players in the league today.
Not only is Ginobili great at getting to the basket, but his ability to finish when he gets there is top notch.
His infamous two-step has led to a boatload of points over the course of a steady 10-year career. Unfortunately for the now 35-year-old Ginobili, age has caught up to him via injury troubles.
Although Ginobili’s career is slowly winding down, as long as he’s out on the court he’s a threat to score in bunches and penetrate to the basket with ease.
6. Kobe Bryant's Jab Step
Kobe Bryant is one of the most respected jump shooters in the NBA today and has been throughout a long professional career. With that respect, comes the ability to toy with defenders.
As Bryant explains in the video tutorial, he utilizes the jab step technique to create space before rising up over defenders to bury jump shots.
Although Bryant uses the jab step as a tool to get better looks from outside, his move can also be used to get defenders off balance before blowing by them to the basket.
Admittedly, Bryant’s offensive repertoire at this point in his career is down to a very complicated science. Any number of Bryant’s “unstoppable” moves could be utilized for this list. However, his offensive jab step is an underrated portion of what Bryant brings to the table despite its importance.
Bryant’s ability to get defenders off balance and rise up over anyone for “easy” looks is uncanny.
5. Derrick Rose's Right-Handed Floater
Indiana Pacers fans would probably disagree, but it’s truly a shame that Derrick Rose, one of the game’s most exciting young talents who lives and breathes basketball, tore his ACL and will miss a considerable chunk of the 2012-2013 season.
Fans won’t have the luxury of watching D-Rose on live television for the foreseeable future, but there are still plenty of his highlights that can be viewed again and again.
One of the most recognizable signature moves associated with Rose is the right-handed floater he uses when driving the lane. Or, as Beckley Mason calls it, the “right-handed push shot.”
The famous Muhammad Ali quote, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” is a perfect analogy for what Rose does out on the basketball court. His majestic ball-handling skills coupled with a supernatural ability to get into the paint is floating like a butterfly, while the dagger of a floater he pushes into the basket on a regular basis is when Rose stings like a bee.
Rose has already won the NBA Rookie of the Year award as well as an NBA Most Valuable Player award through his first four NBA seasons. The next achievement on his radar has to be a championship trophy.
If the Chicago Bulls can claw their way to a playoff spot without Rose (not impossible given their 18-9 regular season record last season without their floor general), they’ll have a great chance of competing for a ring if Rose is back and healthy in the postseason.
Hopefully Rose’s full offensive repertoire makes a valiant return when he comes back from injury.
4. Dirk Nowitzki's Fadeaway
Dirk Nowitzki’s fadeaway jump shot is absolutely destructive. Guarding a seven-footer as skilled as Nowitzki is hard enough as is, but his unblockable fade is a work of art that nobody can defend against.
Even though Nowitzki often appears flat-footed and has the oddly late release on his shot (which makes him mighty difficult to play as in the NBA2K video games), he has seemingly unlimited range and makes it look as if he’s shooting the ball into a swimming pool instead of a hoop just 18 inches in diameter.
When Nowitzki catches fire (which often occurs in playoff games), he can single-handedly carry teams to victory with his proficient jump shooting.
When there’s a clip of the show Sport Science highlighting your unstoppable skill, you know you’re doing something right.
3. Chris Paul's Sidestep Pull-Up Jumper
Without Chris Paul on the roster during the 2010-2011 season, the Los Angeles Clippers finished with a 32-50 overall record (third worst in the Western Conference). With CP3 last season, “Lob City” finished 40-26 (the fifth best record in the Western Conference).
That’s one of the many reasons why Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA today. He single-handedly shifted the Clips’ outlook from laughingstock to playoff contender.
As for CP3’s unstoppable signature move, look no further than the sidestep pull-up jump shot.
In a nutshell, Paul comes off a high screen and blasts to the basket like a Rottweiler freed from its leash before sidestepping any and all help defenders for an open pull-up jump shot.
Paul made a living last season by bailing head coach Vinny Del Negro out of close games with his clutch, unstoppable isolation play.
If you need two points with the game clock winding down, there are few better options than the likes of CP3.
2. Rajon Rondo's Fake Passes
Rajon Rondo is an absolute magician with the basketball in the gigantic mitts he calls hands.
In addition to being an unselfish passer who loves to set up Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and others for easy scores, Rondo adds a distinct flair and swagger that makes him a joy to watch.
Rondo utilizes the stationary ball fake (see video) to set up open teammates by psyching out defenders.
Although the stationary ball fake doesn’t have much flair, its effectiveness and usefulness are often a nightmare for defenders.
Where Rondo truly stands out in terms of trickery, however, is when he pulls the fake behind-the-back pass out of his bag of tricks. Let’s just say there’s a reason why Rondo led the entire NBA in assists per game a season ago.
Rondo always seems to be one step ahead of defenders regardless of the situation. Whether he’s setting up teammates for scores or scoring himself after fake passes, he can be relied upon to lead a team to victory.
Boston Celtics fans need to hope he can continue to improve his outside jumper as well as his poor free-throw shooting.
1. LeBron James' Drives to the Basket
Trying to stop LeBron James when he drives to the basket is like trying to stop a freight train barreling down the tracks; which is precisely why James comes out on top of the list of “unstoppable” moves.
Defenders rarely get any help from referees for trying to stop James thundering down the lane, but it’s a lost cause anyway considering how well James finishes at the rim. You could shoot footballs out of a cannon at James flying through the air and he’d still put the ball in the basket. (Heck, he’d probably catch the football as well).
Although James’ reputation to finish at the rim when he drives to the lane proceeds him, his fantastic court vision and passing ability make him a truly dangerous dual threat when he penetrates to the rim.
If you jump to the two minute mark in the video, you’ll see a perfect example of James driving to the basket, drawing attention and kicking the ball out to Mike Miller for an open three-pointer.
James’ superstar passing and scoring abilities are what make him the best player in the NBA. He finally proved himself worthy of the label by reaching the NBA pedestal, winning his first ever NBA championship last season.
Now that he knows what it takes to win on the highest stage, coupled with his array of unstoppable offensive moves, he makes the Miami Heat favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy until another team proves otherwise.