John Wall has been fooling defenses all year with a new dribble move that the rest of the league is still trying it wrap its head around.
On drives, particularly coming off a screen from a big man, Wall will fake a pass to a teammate by pushing the ball with one hand, putting an incredible amount of backspin on it so that it rolls back to him.
Here’s an example:
The defender will flinch, thinking Wall has passed it, which gives him an open driving lane to the basket.
Some call it the “yo-yo dribble” for the way it spins back into the player’s hand.
Speaking from All-Star Weekend in New York, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was asked about John Wall’s move, and admitted he couldn’t do it.
“I came to the gym and tried it and realised how hard it was,” he said. “I was like, I ain’t even gonna mess with it.”
Lillard also pointed out that Wall wasn’t the first player to do it. He saw Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Atlanta’s Jeff Teague break it out before Wall popularised it this year.
We asked Teague about the move at All-Star Weekend, and he joked, “I did it first, I gotta tell John to quit taking my move.”
He explained that he first discovered the move in college.
“When I was at Wake Forest I did it on accident. I was dribbling and I kind of lost the ball, and the [defender] went flying,” he said. “The next three games I just tried it again and it kept working. So, my second year in the NBA, we played the Chicago Bulls, and they kind of hedge out kind of hard [on the pick-and-roll], and I just tried to fake it and see if somebody would go for it, and they went for it. And I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Finding video evidence of any player doing this move is tough, but there is proof of Teague doing it last year to DeMarcus Cousins:
Wall and Teague have both had success with it, but the move is apparently difficult enough that Lillard won’t even bother trying to perfect it.
If it remains unique to only a handful of players, then it may remain one of the craftiest moves in the NBA. If it becomes too popular, defenses may stop biting on it so hard, thus putting an end its effectiveness.
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