Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is having the best season of his career. He’s averaging 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists per game for the 26-12 Wizards.
As one of the most athletic players in the NBA, Wall can often make defenses look silly with his quickness and explosiveness. Earlier this season, Wall was showing off his 360 layups.
Now, Wall has a new move he’s busting out: the “cut dribble.”
Wall’s “cut dribble” — as he calls it — is somewhere between a pass and a crossover. When Wall comes off a pick heading toward the basket, the opposing big man has to pick him up. Wall fakes a pass to his teammate rolling to the basket by using a ton of backspin, so that the ball leaves his hands, then spins back to him.
The defence is thrown off balance thinking Wall is passing it to his teammate. The momentary hesitation from the defender gives Wall an opportunity to drive or take an open shot.
Here’s how the play is set up. Wall gets a screen from Marcin Gortat. Wall’s defender, Donald Sloan, gets caught behind the screen, leaving Pacers big man Luis Scola to defend Wall and Gortat rolling to the basket.
Wall throws Scola off balance with the cut dribble, then drives to the basket for the finish.
He fooled the Chicago Bulls with the same move last weekend. Even ESPN announcer Mike Breen thought Wall had momentarily lost the ball:
Wall told Bullets Forever about the simple origins of the move:
“It’s just something I’ve worked on in practice. Me and Drew [Gooden] talked about it and [he] helped me. Just an opportunity to get guys off balance and try to make a play.”
Wizards guard Garrett Temple told the Washington Post, “He freezes the big, and then you’ve got ’em at your mercy.”
Drew Gooden added, “That big might react to that pass — AH! — and [then the ball] comes back to him and he’s in rhythm with his right hand to shoot. Just playing around in practice we started doing it, and then he took it to the game.”
Wall used it again Tuesday night in the Wizards’ victory over the San Antonio Spurs, this time creating room for himself with the dribble, then tossing up a floater:
While Wall has popularised the move, he’s not the first to do it. Jeff Teague froze DeMarcus Cousins with the same move last season:
Wall admitted that he’s tried it before, and sometimes defenses won’t bite on the fake.
However, if he uses it in the right amount, he’ll continue to make defenders look silly.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.