At TrueHoop, Beckley Mason put together a small look at some of the league’s “signature moves.” Included was James Harden’s extended arms swoop move where he holds the ball out in front of him. Definitely a good move
What about the rest of the team though? Here’s what I came up with, and granted, some of these are decidedly less “signature” than others:
Kevin Durant – His Game, Just In General
KD has a few actual, for real signature moves. Nike even made a video about them and everything. The 62, the Counter 62, the Crossover, the Kobe Move. He even added one last season — the one-legged Dirk fadeaway.
But in general, KD’s just one big signature move. He has a complete arsenal. A stocked full bag of tricks that he can break out. He can post you. He can cross you. He can jab step and step back. He can shake and bake you. He can slice and dice you. He can shoot over you. He can drive past you. When KD goes to his go-to move, it basically just involves him having the ball in his hands.
One of my favorite KD moves though: He’s isolated on a catch, gives a slight show of the ball, swings it across the defender and drives hard to the baseline. With Durant’s giant first step and wingspan, it’s almost unstoppable.
Russell Westbrook – Run Real Fast And Shoot
Like KD, Westbrook’s got his own sanctioned batch of signature moves. But maybe my favorite move Westbrook does — other than the one where he dunks on everything — is where he screams up the floor and stops on a dime to knock down a 12-foot jumper.
Do you have any idea how hard that is? He makes it look so much simpler than it really is. Try it. Go outside, run 40 feet at full tilt, then try and stop — without slowing down — and jump straight up in the air. I bet you can’t do it. And I definitely bet you can’t do it while dribbling a basketball.
In order to pull this off, Westbrook has to get his momentum killed enough to jump as vertical as he possibly can. Sometimes he’s leaning a bit, but if he wants to make the jumper, he’s got to get set. This move is a testament to Westbrook’s incredible hard work. He’s perfected this thing only by hours spent in the gym.
Nick Collison – Baseline Hesitate
It’s hard to describe this move, but if you’ve watched Collison play much, you know exactly the play. It’s the one where Westbrook or someone dishes to him on the baseline under the basket and instead of going straight up to dunk, Collison just waits for the traffic to clear.
It’s not really a pump fake as much as it’s patience. On first glance it almost looks like a travel, but it’s just one big step and a really boring two-hand dunk.
Serge Ibaka — Cradle To The Hookshot
Ibaka doesn’t post up too much, but when he does, he likes this move. It happens with him on the right block, going over his left shoulder. He likes to take one hard dribble, cradle the ball in his right hand to shield it from swiping guards and then open up into a nice little baby hook.
It’s really a pretty effective move. He just doesn’t have the opportunity to use it all that much.
Kendrick Perkins — Back Down, Back Down… Turnover
Thabo Sefolosha – Fast Break Failure
Thabo is such a selfless, team player. Except on fast breaks. When it comes to that, it’s showtime. And we’ve all seen it. He’s got the ball with Durant and Harden running with him. Likely expecting the defense to key on them, Thabo tries to take it all the way. And fails.
James Harden — Old Man
Again, Beckley already outlined that other move, but Harden has kind of made the Eurostep his own. He’s wonderful at breaking it out almost at full speed on a break, or even in the lane in traffic.
Harden’s staple really is the two-man game and all the closet-full of moves he’s got in that. He can split it, he can hesitate and pull up between it or he can dish. He loves to split and then break out the extendo scoop move. And when he does, he almost always draws contact. But what Harden’s so crazy good at is finishing regardless of it. He’s got great upper body strength and powers through the hack to get a shot on the rim.
Harden’s whole game has that certain lefty craftiness to it. It’s not overwhelming athleticism. It’s more of a calculated, cerebral approach. It’s why so many call it an “Old Man” game. He does try to out-athlete you, even though he’s a lot better one than people give him credit for. He’s just developed a whole bunch of really solid moves and executes them beautifully.
Daequan Cook – Three
Pretty much all he’s got.
Eric Maynor – Floater
Quietly, Maynor has one of the better floaters in the league. He puts it up super soft and is extremely subtle and crafty at getting into the paint to use it. He really likes to go to it out of a hard jumpstop, but that ended his season last year. So I’m curious to see how he uses that from now on.
Reggie Jackson – Dribble Up Slowly With Your Right Hand Out
A staple of Jackson’s game. Very effective.
Cole Aldrich — Obligatory Blowout Dunk
For real though, if anything, it’s probably Aldrich’s skyhook. Obviously not all that great, but it’s kind of okay. Sometimes.
Lazar Hayward — Straightforward Headbanding
Perfectly placed, always.