After a player has caught the ball and squared up to the basket in the triple-threat position, he is ready to attack the defender. He can do so by using what I call “stationary moves.” I use that term because the player makes the initial move from a stationary triple-threat position, before putting the ball on the floor in a dribble.
From the triple-threat position, the player executes a jab step. The purpose of the jab step is to get the defense to react. The step should be made with the right foot by right-handed players, and the left foot by left-handed players.
To ensure that the offensive player stays balanced, the jab step should be quick and short (only about 6 inches [15 cm]; figure 8.3a). If the defender does not react quickly enough to the jab step, the offensive player should then take a longer step with the same foot, trying to get his head and shoulders by the defender (figure 8.3b). The player should then close the gap and explode to the basket with one dribble (figure 8.3c).
While teaching stationary moves, emphasize the advantages of using the dribble effectively. Players should try to get to the basket using the fewest dribbles possible. This helps prevent their defender or another defender from getting into the play and possibly stopping the drive. Also emphasize to your players the importance of keeping their head up while dribbling. This will give them the court vision to see both help-side defenders and their own teammates to whom they can dish the ball if the defense collapses when they drive.
If the offensive player executes a jab step, and the defender responds by sliding over in the direction of that step, the offensive player can then go in the opposite direction with a crossover step. First, a right-handed offensive player jabs with the right foot, forcing the defense to react and take away the strong-side drive (figure 8.4a). The offensive player then starts to cross the right foot over to the left side (figure 8.4b), stepping by the defender’s foot and putting the defender on his right hip. The player should keep the ball as low as possible as he rolls his shoulders through and steps by the defender. The offensive player keeps the defender on the right hip, and he puts the ball down left-handed to protect it from the defense (figure 8.4c).
Once again, the offensive player should attack the defender by going in a straight line to the basket, thus limiting the defender’s chance to recover. The fundamentals of effective dribbling, closing the gap, and keeping the head up apply to the crossover drive just as they do to the strong-side drive. When executed properly, either of these moves can lead to a jump shot or power layup if the defense reacts to the offensive player’s footwork.
Jab Step to the Jumper
The defense will eventually adjust to the jab step by taking a retreat step to prevent the offensive player from slicing to the basket. As the defense retreats, the offensive player now has room to go straight up and shoot the jumper (if within shooting range).
To get the shot off, the offensive player must maintain balance after making the jab step. The player can do so only by keeping the feet shoulder-width apart and staying low. This is why it is important to teach players to keep the jab step short. A jab step that is too long will force the offensive player to reset, and the defense will be able to recover in time to stop the shot.