Last night viewers on TNT were forced to endure a Heat/Celtics game devoid of LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Rondo, Garnett, Allen, and for the most part Pierce. However, those lucky enough to be in the building were treated to an impromptu practice session before the game featuring none other than LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Let's just say I was one of the lucky ones.
And now you are too:
Just because you take a day off, doesn't mean you take a day off. These two have to stay sharp, after all they have a championship or two still to win.
A couple fo things to point out.
Last time, using Carmelo Anthony as an example, I mentioned how one move can evolve into several variations - as long as you master the initial one. It's really the fundamentals that are important - they enable you to improvise.
The same can be seen in the video above with two of the best players in the world. Look how fairly simplistic their routine is. But also notice how for the first part of their routine - it's essentially one move that turns into three.
If you notice, both of them start from the left wing and then work their way across to the left elbow to receive the pass. This, more than likely, is to simulate coming off a screen from the weak side to get open.
First move/basic move: Catch and shoot.
This is fairly straight forward but the footwork is key. As they come to the elbow, they ultimately will plant their left foot as they catch the ball and use it to pivot around to face the basket. The pivot and their momentum allows them to go right up into their shot (as a right handed shooter, your momentum will be carrying your strong shoulder and foot towards the basket). Sometimes you'll see Wade do a little hop step into it, other times it's more in rhythm. Doing it fluidly gives you proper balance but more importantly prevents your defender from recovering off the screen (we've addressed this before with Kevin Durant). Of course, when you are as good as these guys (and probably only then) you can start to fade away on your shot.
Second move/variation #1: Catch and Rip through.
After coming off a screen the defender is chasing you. If you sense they are going all out to close the gap, one option you have is to rip the ball through in the opposite direction, using the defender's momentum of playing catch-up against them. Again footwork is key - rather than swinging your right foot into your shot, you want to push off it to give you force to move the ball across your body. From here you can drive to the basket, drive and pull-up, or as you see these guys start to do - drive then step-back into their jumper. Think about how hard that is to defend trying to recover coming off a screen then getting blown by - only to get hit with the step back! What's pretty funny about the video is that LeBron and Wade actually try to incorporate Dirk's patented one-legged fade away into their step back. They still have some work to do.
Third move/variation #2: Catch and go.
Okay, so your defender has done a pretty good job closing the gap off the screen and is on your hip preventing you from ripping the ball through. What can you do? Well, you're still in a position to dribble with your strong hand. Actually the defender trailing/being on your hip helps facilitate this. So as you catch the ball on the elbow - you can actually take 1-2 dribbles towards the middle of the foul line and then pull up/fade away into your jump shot.
Okay, this isn't rocket science.
But that's the point. Off of one screen you have three options at you disposal:
1) pivot into your shot
2) rip the ball through
3) dribble to the middle and pull up.
So simple, you can even practice them with a dislocated finger......
Another thing to consider is practicing game situations.
And that's exactly what LeBron and Wade do in the second half of this video.
With LeBron or Wade having the ball above the three point line, consider this:
Pretty simple right???
But I'm sure it can be pretty effective when you have these three guys running it (heck, I even saw it work with Chalmers and Battier running it last right). Look how many options you have. Now go back to the second routine in the video above. What do you think they were practicing???
Situational drills are extremely important (i.e. practicing coming off screens - with and without the ball). You are training your body to recognize and operate in a particular situation that way you can be ready to perform at a high level when confronted with these situation in games. And of course once you have the structure - you can improvise when needed (and look at LeBron improvise with his dribble - he's 6'8" & 250 doing that!!!).
This is something that Steve Nash does all the time during his practice routines. You can see and listen to him discuss training the body to perform for yourself.
Well, that's enough talking from me.
But before you go, you might as well watch them practice isolation moves on the wing......right?
After all, practice makes perfect: