2010 NBA Playoffs: The Five Best Moves Left in the Second Season
One of the best things about the NBA is the mindblowing display of moves that these professional athletes show us on a daily basis.
In baseball, you're just throwing or swinging, and aside from the occasional diving catch, you're not really going to see any signature moves.
In football people have their moves to get around the other players, but I wouldn't say anyone really has a signature maneuver.
In the NBA, though, not only do players have signature moves, but we see them multiple times per night.
As the smoke from the first round clears, we won't be seeing several of our favorite moves until late October.
Carmelo Anthony's super-elevated jumper, Dirk Nowitzki's one-legged fade-away, Kevin Durant's three from five feet behind the arc, and Derrick Rose's crossover pull-up jumper are just a few gems that we won't be seeing anymore.
But there are still plenty of moves left, so let's take a look at the best moves remaining in the playoffs.
Rajon Rondo's Ball Fake
Rajon Rondo has really come into his own during the Cleveland series, where he's been the best player on the floor not named "LeBron James."
He has been almost automatic once he gets into the paint, and his amazing ball fake is one of the primary reasons.
Rondo will first take his man into the paint—usually at an odd angle, one that doesn't necessarily line up with the basket.
He takes advantage of his defender's tendency to follow the ball, because then he'll palm the ball, and extend it out in his arm.
All of a sudden the defender, who was previously focused on cutting off Rondo's access to the hoop, has something new to chase.
His attention is diverted to the ball, seemingly up for grabs as Rondo holds it in one hand away from his body.
Once the defender makes his move, Rondo quickly pulls it back, changes his angle, and either pivots to the hoop or finds another teammate.
It's brilliant, and it makes me stare in awe every time.
The best part is, it doesn't matter what Rondo is faking to. Sometimes it appears as if he's throwing a pass to a teammate (who may or may not even be there) in the corner, other times it just looks like he's tossing the ball out of bounds; it doesn't matter.
The defender always falls into the trap of chasing that ball, and suddenly Rondo is wide open.
It's an amazing move, and I hope we'll be seeing it a lot more through these playoffs.
Antawn Jamison's Teardrop Floater
The teardrop floater is usually the exclusive property of the point guard. Tony Parker and Chris Paul have made it almost into an art form, and it is one of my favorite shots to watch.
The player, driving into the lane, can either pull up for a jumper or head to the basket for a lay-up, or so it would seem.
Paul and Parker are capable of, while still moving forward, pulling the ball up and almost tossing it into the hoop. It's almost undefendable despite its low release point, because if you're watching for it, he's going to blow by you.
Jamison has always had one of the most frustrating games in the business. With his size, he should be a good low-post player, but instead he loves to jack up terrible threes (or twos because his foot is on the line) or other contested jumpers.
Lately, though, he has started to unleash the floater on the unsuspecting populace, and it's a true joy to watch.
It shows that Jamison does have the skills to play like a guard despite his size, and it's really helped him get by the otherwise abusive relationship he's had with Kevin Garnett.
KG might as well have been put on this earth to dominate Jamison in every way possible.
Jamison can't defend him, and he can't really score on him if Garnett is in his face, but with a head of steam, Jamison can bust out the floater over Garnett, and Garnett can only watch as it sails over his head.
If he can get that shot over Garnett, he can get it over players like Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins as well, and it has become one of Jamison's most potent weapons.
Should the Cavs advance, he'll need plenty of them to get over Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis as well.
Steve Nash's Under-the-Basket Shenanigans
Steve Nash has made a career of taking the ball under the basket on the fast break and making something happen after it.
For most point guards, taking it under the basket is sort of a last resort; they take it under the basket, circle around to the top of the three-point arc, then reset the offense.
But Nash makes magic happen when he goes under the basket.
The Suns are a team built to capitalize on Nash's under-the-basket abilities.
His natural awareness of his place on the court in relation to the basket can lead to a no-look lay-up over the defender who assumes the Nash is just going to reset.
But that's not all he can do. Due to the Suns' abundance of perimeter shooters, there is often a Channing Frye (who moves out to the three-point line when Nash goes to the hoop), Jason Richardson, or Jared Dudley waiting—and often open—when Nash emerges.
That's not to mention the ace in the hole: Amar'e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire was put on this earth to build up a head of steam, and take a pass inside of the three-point line and finish with a flourish. He usually comes in from the opposite side, and Nash is amazing at finding him through one, two, or three defenders for the finish.
Good things happen for the Suns when Nash goes under the basket, and he has turned that move into a legitimate weapon, instead of just a way to reset in the half-court set.
Dwight Howard's Shoulder Hook Shot
Dwight Howard has been roundly criticized (with good reason) for his over-reliance on his physical gifts and lack of post moves. He really only has one good post move, but boy is it a dandy.
His hook shot looks so unnatural, especially coming from someone so athletic, but boy does it get the job done.
Howard will get the ball close to the baseline, then drive in an arc to a point in front of the basket, or just past it, often as far as seven feet away.
Then, all of a sudden, the ball, which was previously on the side of him away from the basket, comes up and is released almost at his shoulder before going in.
For such a big guy, Howard's hook shot has a low release point—it's almost a floater, except Howard is facing sideways to the basket, not toward it.
And it looks so awkward, almost like his arm is tied to his body at the bicep, because his body seems to bend to give the shot its momentum.
It's far from the elegant grace of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky hook, but it's just as undefendable.
With Abdul-Jabbar, the sheer altitude of the shot prevented it from being defended, while Howard prevents it by putting his entire body between the ball and the defender.
The Magic are a dangerous enough team along the perimeter to prevent teams from trying to double Howard when he makes his move toward the hoop.
Hopefully this is the first in what becomes an arsenal of low-post moves for Howard.
Deron Williams' Crossover Fadeaway Three-Pointer
There are few moves in the NBA as badass as the step-back three. Manu Ginobili, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James all favor this move, but no one does it as well as Deron Williams.
When Williams shoots it, it looks like he's taking a free throw it's so natural for him.
But often he adds another step to it, which makes it an even cooler move.
Williams will dribble the ball up and stop just behind the three-point arc. He'll then start to dribble it between his legs as if he's slowing the pace and running out the shot clock.
The defender, assuming he's getting ready to drive, gives him a few feet of space, and the trap is sprung.
Williams takes a step forward, like he's beginning his drive, but instead of pushing forward, his lead foot actually pushes him back, ensuring he's out of range of the defender, and he lets fly.
It is a sight to see, and it has an immediate effect on the crowd. If it's a road crowd, they immediately silence. If he's at Energy Solutions Arena, the crowd is immediately ignited to a fever pitch.
It's one of my favorite moves to watch, simply because it seems to be the most effortless three points in basketball.
Those are my favorite moves left in the playoffs. How about yours?