True Hoops

True Hoops

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hesitate and Go

Perhaps this can be a motto for the New York Knicks after they suffered a minor setback by losing to the Miami Heat on Sunday. No they didn't get the win, but they should still come away feeling good they were able to compete, especially considering no one of the team had a particularly good game other than Carmelo Anthony.

On to the next one!

But before we go, let's take a mandatory pause to consider that Melo didn't have a good game either. No, he had a spectacular game: 42 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Is it me or does it seem as if Melo is starting to do this on a regular basis for the Knicks?

In the past, I have readily stated my infatuation with how profuse content can be elegantly conveyed through simplistic constructs. Well, here is another one for you: Greatness is making something difficult look easy.

Wasn't Carmelo Anthony's performance against the Heat on Sunday a perfect representation of these concepts? Let me rephrase that question: Isn't it amazing how Carmelo can score 42 points against the Heat (i.e. some of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA) using only one simple move?

Let me tell you something that Carmelo Anthony is exceptional at:
1) Squaring up is defender with a dribble.
2) Using his dribble to set up a little hop/hesitation to freeze his defender
3) Then changing speeds to blow by his defender.


Again, repeat after me:



Simple enough right? Already in full speed as Dywane Wade starts to react.
Take a look at the results in real-time:

The best part about this video is how the commentator says Melo's drive to the basket was "easy." Keep in mind, that's Dywane Wade guarding him! You know, the Dywane Wade that has been known to lock down Kobe on occasion (or at least break his nose).

But dig this: the only reason Wade was on Carmelo was because Melo employed this move on LeBron numerous times in the first quarter to get LeBron into foul trouble. The two best defenders on the Heat had nothing for Melo. Any coincidence he was smiling so much during the game?

But here is were simplicity is truly beautiful.
Because this one move is so effective - it actually transforms into several others moves!
And we're talking rapid transformation - like within the same quarter.
As defenders start to play Melo for the hesitation and go, this is how he adjusts his game:

Poor Shane. 
He did nothing wrong there. Seeing LeBron and Wade get blown by regularly - as a defender that's what he tried to take away. However, as a superb offensive talent that is able to read what the defense is giving him - Melo evolves.

Just to be clear, the adjustment is:
Dribble-hesitate-go -------------> Dribble-hesitate-go-crossover

Again, repeat after me:




And as seen above, the result is Melo creating tons of space for his jumpshot:

But it doesn't really stop there.
As a coach I told my players on numerous occasions how important the hesitate and go is. By mastering this one simple move - and I mean really mastering the change of speeds, perhaps accentuated by a little hop after the dribble - in effect you really have maybe 4-5 moves at your disposal (and double that amount if you master it with both hands!).

That's right, the hesitate and go can become:
1) Hesitate-go-crossover
2) Hesitate-pullup jumper
3) Hesitate-reverse between the legs 
4) Hesitate--go-behind the back
5) etc, etc.

Carmelo used at least three of these variations during the game on Sunday. 
Kind of hard to argue with the results, right?

It's such a simple game.

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