Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hakeem teaches Dwight how to travel
See below for two updates
In his ongoing instructional series, Hakeem Olajuwon teaches Dwight Howard how to travel before taking a righthanded jumphook in a video posted at The Dream's youtube channel July 11.

Earlier in Howard's career, another Hall of Famer, Patrick Ewing, taught him the same traveling sequence from the left side of the block! There's even an official NBA video of the session, posted in March 2009. You can count the steps in the video's opening seconds, as the clueless Ewing praises Howard for his "great footwork."

As I noted last December, the NBA also produced an official "ihoops" video with Raymond Felton on how to dribble that was actually a how-to-illegally-palm-while-assuming-correctly-that-the-refs-won't-call-it video. Could there possibly be a more incompetently run league — not from a business standpoint, but a playing-and-officiating standpoint — than the NBA?

Ewing also taught Howard how to set obvious, blatant, bone-crushing moving screens, as I wrote about in 2009 and 2011. That would seem to be counterproductive, given that these are fouls and the importance of a key player such as Howard avoiding foul trouble. But it's counterproductive only if these obvious fouls are called. If they're not, the team's drivers and three-point shooters benefit greatly from the moving picks, which generally are more effective than legal ones because they trip up the defender or stop him dead in his tracks, as the defender has no time to react to the late movement of the picker. That's why Stan and Jeff Van Gundy are so in love with moving picks and like to have Ewing around to teach them (just as Billy Martin appreciated Art Fowler's ability to teach pitchers how to illegally doctor the baseball).

My theory is refs are even more unlikely than usual to call moving picks (or traveling) when the perpetrator is coached by a Hall of Famer. Some refs may assume that Howard is a terrific, legal screener simply because he's tutored by an all-time great who surely knows how to set a proper screen. Did I mention NBA refs are gullible?

My advice to Howard going forward is to eliminate opportunities for refs to blow the whistle by (1) not traveling and (2) by setting passive, stationary screens before your teammate starts dribbling or cutting in your general direction. It's your teammate's job to direct his defender into your stationary path. It is not your job to move at the last second into the defender's path. That's what football blockers do to pass rushers. Psst: Basketball isn't football. Spread the word throughout the NBA. The league could use a reminder.

UPDATE: Henry Abbott of ESPN's TrueHoop blog — one of the few hoop writers interested in this important matter — asks, "Looks like two steps after the gather to me, right?" In other words, not a travel.

That's not how I see it. I see three steps after the gather. Of course, that depends on how you define "gather" and how lenient you care to be with players determined to have more legal steps for themselves than players in previous eras. What follows is an expanded, edited-for-clarity version of two replies I sent Henry.

This is how a player used to have to shoot a righty jumphook: that first step with the left foot would be his pivot foot, then he'd step with his right and shoot. Hakeem is taking two additional steps (a left followed by a right) after the initial left and right. This is all from a virtual standstill.

If Hakeem/Dwight had opted to shoot a running one hander off of one foot after that same catch and dribble, he would have had to shoot it after the second step with the left foot or before. Even modern NBA refs would be stunned into blowing the whistle if Hakeem/Dwight would have shot it off his right foot — the last step in the video sequence. You shoot a running righthander with a right-hand dribble off the left foot — or the prior right foot to disrupt the defender's timing, as Steve Nash will do. You don't get to take an extra step and shoot it off the right.

My view is that Hakeem's first step (left) is the gather step, which would allow him two more steps: a right and a left. This makes for the standard look of a running layup or an on-the-move hook shot off of one foot — from any decade. The righthander's dribble is opposite the left foot, after which he takes a step with his right and then his left, off of which he elevates. Kareem dribbling across the lane is going to shoot his skyhook off his left foot. Not just because it feels natural, but because he knows he is legally out of steps. One more step and Richie Powers calls traveling.

If you are driving for a layup, you are taking your last righthanded dribble opposite your left foot. After that you get your two steps, and you elevate off that second one, your left (assuming you're a righty).

Now you could get cute and bounce your last dribble out in front of you, so that you have a late gather. You could claim that this entitles you to an extra step. (To be clear, that is not what is going on with Hakeem/Dwight/Patrick.) If I ran the NBA I'd say this: "You're within the letter of the law but you're violating its spirit. We're calling it a travel. Every time. If necessary, we'll redefine 'gather step' so it means 'foot opposite the last dribble,' irrespective of the precise split-second you secure the ball." I fleshed out my views on this matter last December in The James Harden triple-step travel and other adventures in NBA counting.

To me, Hakeem and Dwight are committing obvious travels — even if they were shooting on-the-run shots. But in both videos, they're shooting dribble-in-place jumping shots (a jumphook in Hakeem's video and a fadeaway jumper in the Ewing one), which if anything should mean less leeway with regard to steps, not more. I much prefer the version of b-ball where that initial step — in that circumstance — was seen as a planting-the-pivot-foot step. Wilt, Elvin Hayes, Willis Reed et al., didn't take that step, and then jump and land, and then jump and shoot. Even if they had, they'd still be taking one fewer step than Hakeem and Dwight!

What Wilt and company did when shooting one-dribble jumpers in and around the paint (or Wilt's jump finger-roll, which he shot off of two feet like the modern jumphook) is take that plant step (the foot opposite the dribble), then another, then elevate — or pump fake with the plant step operating as the pivot foot. This was the case whether they began facing the basket or, like Hakeem/Dwight, with their back to the basket. They didn't use that second foot as the pivot because they assumed they'd be whistled for traveling.

That's the game I grew up watching, and I think the way traveling was officiated then made more sense and made for a better game. Wilt didn't feel deprived because he wasn't allowed to leap off his plant foot, land on two feet, and then use one of them as a pivot foot, a la affirmative-action beneficiary Shaq. There was no leaping after the dribble and landing, then going up for the shot. If you leapt after the dribble, you had to get rid of the ball by shooting or passing before you touched down. Someone might want to ask Rod Thorn, who played in Wilt's era and has just replaced Stu Jackson (Good riddance!) as the NBA's president of basketball operations, which era's traveling rules make for a better game. Regardless, I still maintain that even under today's rules, Hakeem and Dwight are clearly traveling in the practice videos linked above.

UPDATE 2: If you care to see how a righthanded jumphooker uses that first step (left foot) to plant his pivot foot, then stepping with the right and elevating, allow me to introduce you to Hakeem Olajuwon and Dwight Howard. From 1:20 to 2:20 of the video that's just what they do. You'll also see Howard demonstrate a nifty, counter-move, as he uses that planted left foot as his pivot foot. He pumpfakes, then steps through with his right foot and elevates. No need for all those extra steps displayed in the other video.

One caveat: On the counter-move, unlike each of the jumphooks they execute flawlessly, Howard may have begun his move by hopping off of both feet rather than stepping with just the left. It's better to do that little hop while the pass is coming to you (that seemed to be Howard's intention), so your feet are on the floor when the ball arrives. Then you can explode into your stepping move. That removes the risk of a travel call for picking up both feet before dribbling.


At 10:34 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

longchamp outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp handbags, ray ban outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, oakley vault, chanel handbags, nike air max, louboutin shoes, kate spade handbags, prada handbags, louis vuitton handbags, coach outlet store online, kate spade outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, longchamp outlet, nike free, gucci handbags, louis vuitton outlet online, polo ralph lauren, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet online, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, tiffany jewelry, burberry outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, coach outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet online, prada outlet, coach purses, jordan shoes, nike shoes, tory burch outlet, nike air max, red bottom shoes, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet store, coach outlet

At 10:35 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

oakley pas cher, hollister, timberland, air max, nike roshe, true religion outlet, air max pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, ralph lauren pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, new balance pas cher, north face pas cher, chaussure louboutin, hollister, longchamp pas cher, hermes pas cher, nike roshe run, lululemon, barbour, nike air force, vans pas cher, air jordan, nike blazer pas cher, michael kors canada, nike air max, louis vuitton pas cher, ray ban pas cher, guess pas cher, nike free pas cher, louis vuitton uk, nike trainers, nike free, scarpe hogan, nike air max, true religion, longchamp, ray ban uk, north face, ralph lauren, sac louis vuitton, tn pas cher, converse pas cher, burberry pas cher, nike huarache, true religion outlet, louis vuitton, mulberry, sac michael kors, lacoste pas cher, michael kors uk

At 10:37 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

insanity workout, mac cosmetics, vans outlet, ghd, moncler, moncler, wedding dresses, moncler outlet, abercrombie and fitch, jimmy choo shoes, north face outlet, instyler ionic styler, north face jackets, roshe run, canada goose pas cher, new balance outlet, uggs outlet, rolex watches, asics shoes, ugg outlet, soccer shoes, canada goose uk, herve leger, birkin bag, longchamp, canada goose, reebok shoes, canada goose outlet, valentino shoes, canada goose outlet, ferragamo shoes, nfl jerseys, uggs on sale, p90x workout, soccer jerseys, hollister, lululemon outlet, mcm handbags, ugg soldes, celine handbags, ugg boots, mont blanc pens, canada goose outlet, chi flat iron, bottega veneta, marc jacobs outlet, ugg, beats headphones, giuseppe zanotti, babyliss pro

At 3:29 AM, Blogger Xianjun Ranqin said...

qihang0925,kevin durant shoes
tod's shoes
retro jordans
canada goose uk
mizuno running shoes
ghd hair straighteners
supra shoes
north face
toms outlet
fake oakley sunglasses
uggs on sale
nike tn
ralph lauren polos shirts
hermes uk
louis vuitton pas cher
prada outlet
new balance outlet
michael kors outlet online
barbour uk
soccer shoes
fitflops sale clearance
ed hardy uk
jordan pas cher
ugg sale
ugg outlet
nike huarache

At 5:33 AM, Blogger dong dong said...

toms outlet
Coach Outlet Discount Clearance Coach Handbags
Gucci Outlet Store Locations
football jerseys cheap
michael kors outlet
Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags Discount
Official Coach Online Factory Sale
ugg outlet
true religion outlet
ray-ban sunglasses,ray ban sunglasses,ray bans,rayban,ray ban wayfarer,raybans,ray ban glasses,ray ban aviators,ray ban clubmaster,ray ban eyeglasses,cheap ray bans,ray bans sunglasses,ray ban aviator,ray bands,fake ray bans,ray ban prescription glasses,ray ban outlet,ray ban canada,ray ban sunglasses sale,ray ban sale
Nike Kobe Bryant Basketball Shoes
tory burch sale
louis vuitton outlet stores
Christian Louboutin Outlet Sale Cheap Online
Authentic Air Jordan 13 shoes for sale
Designer Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet
Abercrombie and Fitch Store
coach outlet
Michael Kors Factory Outlet Online Official
Louis vuitton Official Website Outlet Online
Jordan Concords Low And High
Jordan 3 Retro 2015
canada goose sale
New Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Online
nike air max 90
Louis Vuitton Clearance Sale
hermes outlet
louis vuitton handbags
Oakley Polarized Sunglasses Cheap Outlet Store
cheap uggs

At 8:11 PM, Blogger 柯云 said...

uggs outlet
ralph lauren
abercrombie and kent
louis vuitton outlet
mulberry uk
chanel bags
oakley sunglasses sale
ray ban sunglasses
cheap uggs sale
ray bans
cheap toms
coach factory outlet
canada goose outlet
sunglasses oakley
gucci outlet
louis vuitton outlet
hollister clothing
ugg boots on sale
air jordans
louis vuitton handbags
ugg outlet
coach clearance
uggs on sale
canada goose
coach outlet store
marc jacobs outlet
michael kors outlet
fake oakley sunglasses
uggs on sale
the north face jackets
coach outlet store online clearance
uggs for sale
ugg slippers
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin
adidas original trainers
ugg outlet
jordan shoes
ugg outlet

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Minko Chen said...

adidas wings shoes
swarovski crystal
michael kors handbags clearance
prada outlet
mbt shoes outlet
toms outlet store
tory burch outlet
michael kors outlet online
mont blanc pens
true religion outlet
adidas outlet
michael kors outlet online
nfl jersey wholesale
kobe 9
tory burch outlet online
christian louboutin,louboutin,louboutin outlet,louboutin outlet italia,scarpe louboutin
uggs outlet
burberry outlet
swarovski outlet
air max 90

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

louis vuitton outlet online
rolex watches
louis vuitton purses
fitflop shoes
coach outlet store online clearances
insanity workout
tory burch shoes
oakley sunglasses wholesale
coach outlet online
cheap air jordans
timberland boots
coach factory outlet online
nike roshe run
cheap toms shoes
discount jordans
jordan retro 11
michael kors outlet online
kobe 10
coach outlet online
toms outlet
louis vuitton outlet
christian louboutin shoes
coach outlet store online
supra footwear
louis vuitton outlet
ralph lauren outlet
coach factory outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses outlet
oakley sunglasses
oakley outlet
air jordan shoes
coach outlet store
ray ban sunglasses outlet
louis vuitton handbags
air jordan shoes
louis vuitton purses
cheap jordans
coach factory outlet

At 5:56 PM, Blogger فاطمة said...

At 3:13 AM, Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

cheap ugg boots
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
los angeles lakers jerseys
michael kors handbags
kate spade sale
jordan 8
ugg boots
michael kors uk
coach outlet

At 6:43 AM, Blogger عبده العمراوى said...

شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
شركة تنظيف موكيت بالجبيل

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...

cheap jordans
dansko shoes
cazal sunglasses
coach outlet
nobis outlet
polo ralph lauren
oakley sunglasses
kobe shoes
michael kors outlet online
mulberry handbags

At 2:50 AM, Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...

fitflops sale clearance
pandora jewelry
coach outlet online
swarovski crystal
coach outlet
coach outlet
coach outlet
adidas outlet
nike store

At 12:39 AM, Blogger ARE said...

0820jejeair jordan future low noir et blanc Les travailleurs de asics gel kinsei 5 homme la construction sont très souvent tenus de porter ces chaussures spécialement conçues adidas zx 850 homme bleu par leurs employeurs. Tout d'abord, ils aiment basket asics solde homme être conservés en position sèche et ne peuvent pas tennis nike air jordan être baignés sous le grand soleil, ou cela pourrait nike air jordan 3 femme rouge être une décoloration. L'homme ancien a couvert son magasin de air jordan en france pied avec tout ce qui était disponible pour asics fuji trabuco femme avis éviter la chaleur excessive, les orteils gelés ou les perforations chaussure nike tn homme d'épines.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger 5689 said...

kate spade
canada goose outlet
coach outlet
true religion jeans
pandora jewelry
pandora charms
canada goose
nike outlet
coach outlet
ralph lauren polo


Post a Comment

<< Home