Do you want to play perimeter man defense, but are scared you might get put on roller skates? Well, today I’m going to help you out. In part 1 of our three part defensive tutorial series, I will go over how to improve your on ball defense and not become a turnstile on the perimeter. Playing perimeter defense is a challenge outside of the obvious, since there are such a wide variety of perimeter players in the league, you can’t really play them all the same. Sagging off might help neutralize Russell Westbrook, but playing that way against Steph Curry? No way.
What I’m going to do first is go over what you have as a defender at your disposable to take away the shots they want and the ways to go about it.
To begin, I will go over how you can move with your player. While there are a couple ways to do so, in my opinion, you only need two of them. The first is the fast shuffle, which keeps your body squared to your match up, while moving laterally.
Second is the quick step cutoff, which can only be used when you’re in a standstill position. Its purpose is to cut off the angle your opponent is trying to take. This means you can get from Point A to Point B a lot faster than using fast shuffle, but don’t expect to chase somebody around the perimeter using it exclusively.
Both tie into one of the most important ratings for your defender, which is lateral quickness. This gauges how fast your defender can move from side to side. Guys with lower lateral quickness ratings shuffle their feet at a much slower pace than say a Tony Allen (96 lateral quickness).
Up next is understanding angles and how the offensive player uses them to attack you. Driving to the hoop is all about the offensive player getting a good angle on his match up. It’s important, as a defender, to have a consistent depth while mirroring his opponent’s movements across the court.
Pretend there’s a horizontal line behind your defensive player and you move across it wherever your opponent goes so your positioning is always consistent, because if it’s not you run the risk of giving up a drive to the hoop.
If done right you should collide with the player once he gets close enough and when that happens, stop moving your player and wait for his next move or else you will fly right by him once the animation is over.
Being so close, you take away the cross over back the other way because your body’s positioning has taken away the space he would have to do it, so the ball will hit off your body. Your opponent only has two options now: drive to the same side the ball already is on or behind his back, which is when you can attempt to go for a steal.
Let’s go back to Russell Westbrook, since he’s known for attacking the paint and not so much shooting, by sagging off of him we give our defender better angles to defend him should he drive towards the hoop (even if your defender has poor lateral quickness). Now if you’re in his face the margin for error is a lot smaller if you make a mistake.
Only guys like Tony Allen or Kawhi Leonard could get away with playing up close consistently against the Russell Westbrooks of the world and live to tell about it. Your opponent won’t always be clear in their intentions and will attempt to size you up first to get you off balance. When guys attempt to do this it’s very easy to react to every little movement they make. Once that happens you’re theirs before they even take a step.
It’s key to stay patient and remain in your stance despite the show he’s putting on-he hasn’t gone anywhere yet. However, when he does commit you want to utilize the fast shuffle or quick step to mirror him, but be aware of the potential for an attempted crossover; that’s where the defenders lateral quickness is key.
When your opponent goes for the cross you quick step cutoff or fast shuffle to realign with your opponent. Depending on how high your lateral quickness rating and how close you were to your opponent determines how successful you are at it.
If you do get beat, your opponent now has the angle on you. You still have options to turn this into a successful play for the defense. You can sprint to the spot you assume he’s going to and meet him there to force a jump shot when he thought he had an easy layup/dunk or get a steal.
Also, be sure to check if your help defense picks up your defender for you which gives you the opportunity to get an easy interception by simply switching to the next open man or close out on an otherwise open jumper.
Most of all playing on ball man defense is about concentration and being alert. It’s a no better feeling than completely suffocating your opponent and forcing him into a bad shot, because it wasn’t the computer it was you that made him do that and that’s why we play video games right?
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our NBA 2K16 Defensive Tips where I go over low post defense. Be sure to check back daily and subscribe to our Youtube!