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Old 02-06-2011, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Chisholm: Raptor players can learn by watching others

This is a few days old, but I didn't see it posted.

DeMar DeRozan -/- Kobe Bryant

Skill: dribbling out of the trap

Every shooting guard in the NBA could spend their entire careers trying to mold their games after Kobe and only get a fraction of his ability into their arsenal. Nonetheless, DeRozan should be paying particular attention to how Kobe uses the dribble to prevent opposing defences from trapping him, especially along the baseline.

In recent weeks, teams have gotten wise to DeRozan's shaky handles, and they are increasingly working to trap him when he puts the ball on the floor, and DeRozan doesn't have a strong enough back-out move to counter their efforts. He needs to be able to recognize that the traps are coming sooner, and he has to be quicker to take one dribble back out of their trap and alter his trajectory. It takes recognition of the defence and a strong, efficient dribble to make that happen, and until he learns those things teams are going to continue to pressure and trap him into giving up the ball or turning it over.

Amir Johnson -/- Kevin Garnett

Skill: defensive positioning

A lot of players could learn a lot of things from the way that KG plays the game. However, as it pertains to Johnson, whose game has leveled-off in his second year in Toronto, Garnett's mastery of defensive positioning would be a huge benefit to Johnson's game. Garnett knows how to use his body to steer players on the court, he knows how to deny position, while using his length to disrupt shots and passes. Johnson likes to rely too much on his athleticism, often ceding position and trying to reach instead of moving his feet and jumping to block shots he should simply contest with a hand up to make it more difficult. Johnson likes to stand too vertically, which limits his lateral mobility, whereas he should be down in a deep stance like Garnett, using his length to beat his man to positions on the floor.

Because Johnson is an active player, people assume that he's a good defender. He's not. He is slow to react on help, he never beats his man down the court in transition to deny deep post position and he gets caught flat footed far to often when his opponent drives by him. He needs to embrace how important positioning is as an NBA defender if he ever wants to be anything more than an energy guy off of the bench for a club serious about winning.

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