This move is just…wow. An all-time highlight inside the all-time career. Metaphorically, the full speed fearlessness that Jordan goes at as he breaks Nick Anderson down really says something—and I’m not picking on Anderson here, that could be Gary Payton or Scottie Pippen, it doesn’t matter. This play encapsulates Jordan’s best, and nobody can keep up with Jordan’s best. The only option is a slow backpedaling stumble into a lower tier of basketball player. As you fall, he blows by. As you turn to recover, he’s flying through the air. Jordan was great at limiting your options, and in a way he makes the life of a defender comforting. No use in losing sleep over something that’s really out of your hands.Follow @ShakyAnkles
Rajon Rondo is so quick, so fluid and “one” with the basketball. After adjusting to the obligatory space Mo Williams provides for that oft-maligned jump shot by crossing left to right and then back to the left, he almost turns it over. In fact, 9.9 times out of 10, a basketball player would do just that—fly right past the ball, letting their feet get ahead of their mind. But thanks to those massive first base glove hands and the intuitiveness to know where a basketball is headed even when it isn’t touching his body, Rondo proudly represents that 0.1 minority. The right handed kiss from the left side of the basket makes this simple three point play a fine brush stroke within the game’s well crafted body of art.Follow @ShakyAnkles
The sixth and final segment of Shaky Ankles’ breakdown into a possible Amnesty Clause comes on the heels of reported positive negotiations between the NBPA and their counterpart, the league’s lovely owners. Read more…
Whether you hail from Compton, California or the European Union’s north side, Derrick Rose doesn’t care. He will happily lead you one way and then go the other. It’s what he does, and he’s possibly the best in the world at it. Possibly nobody in the entire league possesses the same quick back and forth deception—from left to right then back again—Rose does. At such a young age, his ball handling ability is effective to the point where it isn’t inconceivable to believe that over the next 10 years he could singlehandedly bring the crossover into its next era; it’ll be a joy to observe.
Michael Beasley has had an especially rough offseason, filled with avoidable incidents and unfortunate occurrences. There was the face smush, the nightmare in China, an embarrassing fall, and another run in with Mary J. Things haven’t been great.
But at the Dyckman Summer League—same setting of the face mush—Beasley enjoyed two seconds of the bliss that is crossing up a defender and forging an unblocked path to the basket. It’s probably not going to cure the pain of an ailing wrist, but at least the guy had something go his way these past few months.Follow @ShakyAnkles
To help you get through hump day, here are two (!) Ty Lawson crossovers guaranteed to impress. They both embarrass well-reputed defenders Rajon Rondo and Rodrigue Beaubois, two guys with Pterodactyl-like wingspans. And the speed involved is just uncanny. Lawson isn’t an elite point guard (yet), but he’s captain of the second tier, and one of the most slept on players in basketball.
Which part of Kevin Durant’s game is the most hellish for a hopeful defender? He can kill in a variety of diabolical ways, but it’s safe to say none would even be close to inflicting the same amount of pain if it weren’t for that sweet, nightmarish jump shot. Trying to stop it must feel like hiding on a golf course. It can come from any direction, at any distance; never accompanied with a warning.
Thanks to that shot—part beauty, part carnivor—Durant’s offensive repertoire is too much to handle, like water seeping through porcelain tiles beside an overflowing bathtub.
A few days ago, Truth About It’s John Converse Townsend dragged Durant’s crossover into the light:
But where Durant really raised eyebrows was with his dizzying display of crossovers — executed with more precision and purpose than his Melo League counterparts, Chris Paul included — and a deceivingly quick burst to the hoop. Possession after possession, Durant left defenders off balance, outwitted and out of the picture before scoring with his choice of clever kisses off the backboard or inimitable two-handed jams over traffic.
The one we’re most accustomed to seeing (in the NBA) isn’t too flashy, but it’s effective, usually resulting in a path to the basket and frosty dunk to ice off the play. With one of the longest strides in the league, once he gets that sliver of room and takes off for the hoop, it’s at least two points for Oklahoma City.
The first two aren’t crossovers, but when his quick feet are combined with blatantly overlooked handle that defies physical laws, Durant shows off why at 22-years-old, he’s already the most unstoppable offensive player in the world.Follow @ShakyAnkles
Recommended Reading is a daily (occasional) rundown of truly superb NBA related literature, pictures, and videos. Some is brand new, others are timeless. Enjoy!
NBA Trade Tracker: Congratulations goes out to this great blog for receiving two link mentions in three days. What an accomplishment! It’s almost impossible not to give just due to a site that accompanies insight with such a magnetic headline. (Liked it so much, I decided to steal it.)
SB Nation: Proof that fortune telling is possible.
The Point Forward: Carmelo’s thoughts on resolving the league’s current labor negotiations.
NBA Playbook: Luol Deng: Decoy.
Ball Don’t Lie: On the league’s recent meeting with the NBAPA, here’s Eric Freeman analyzing Howard Beck’s tweets.Follow @ShakyAnkles