One of my favorite positions to score out of is the triple threat, because if you know what you’re doing and are able to read the defender, you become almost impossible to guard in one-on-one situations. One of the hardest players in the world to guard one-on-one is Carmelo Anthony because he has mastered scoring in this area.
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Don’t get me wrong, this is just one area of your game, and I don’t mean to suggest that you should immediately go into the triple threat scoring mode every time you catch the ball. In fact, one of the biggest keys when playing out of the triple threat is to keep your eyes up to see what the defense is doing.
If you do this, you put the defense in a bad situation. They must either help toward you, which leaves open shooters and cutters, or they can stay home with their man and leave you space to work. This only happens, though, if you keep the defense honest with your eyes.
Triple Threat Rules
Before I get into some of the different scoring options, I want to go over a few rules for playing out of the triple threat.
Play From a Position of Strength: This really only applies when an aggressive defender is on you, but it’s a good habit to always catch the ball and immediately pivot into a position of strength. You don’t ever want to catch the ball and stay on your back foot or stand straight up and down against an aggressive defender, because he will eat up your space, and your only move will be to retreat dribble.
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Read the Floor: As previously mentioned, it is extremely important that you don’t automatically catch the ball and put your head down into a one-on-one situation. Keep your eyes up to read the floor; keep the ball moving if needed.
Read the Defender: As a player, you never want to predetermine your move. Predetermining your move makes it easy for the defender and most of the time doesn’t work. What you want to do is read the defender and then make the correct move to beat him or her. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your defender:
- How much space is my defender giving me?
- Are they shading me or trying to force me to a specific direction?
- Do they react to my jab step?
- Are they looking to play solid defense or will they gamble on a shot fake?
The answers to these questions will help you determine what move or moves to use to get yourself an open shot or an open shot for a teammate if a help defender steps up.
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Read the Help Defense: This is similar to reading the floor, but it’s a little more in-depth. Reading the help defense will help you determine what move you should or shouldn’t use. For example, if there is a help defender to your right, and you rip through to your right, you’d better know that defender is there and that you won’t have the same space as if there were no help defender. The only reason you would make a move toward a help defender to set up a teammate. If you can get the help defender to open his or her chest up to you on the help, your teammate will be wide open.
Sell Your Moves: It doesn’t matter what move you are using, you MUST lock in on the details and sell your moves. There is no point in jab stepping if the defender doesn’t believe you may actually rip through and attack. There is no point in faking a shot if the fake doesn’t have the same motion as your actual shot. It is all about the details.
Change of Pace: Don’t be a robot. Learn to play at different speeds. You want to get the defenders to relax before hitting them with a quick move or a couple of quick moves.
Go Somewhere with Your Dribble: I see a lot of players make good moves, but then they don’t get any separation from their defender on the dribble. When you make a move off the dribble, push the ball out and attack in a straight line.
Keep your Eyes Up on the Dribble: Whether you are attacking from a jab step or a shot fake, it’s important that you don’t let your eyes go to the ground on the separation dribble. One, it keeps you from seeing what the defense is doing and you may dribble right into a help defender. Two, it makes your shot harder because you have to jerk your eyes up from the floor to focus on the basket rather than at eye level where the rim is already in peripheral view.
Jab Step Shot
I like to think of this move as the base for all the triple threat moves. If you are not able to make this shot consistently, it will be hard to get into any of your other moves, because your defender will just back off and dare you to shoot. However, once you are able to hit the jab step shot with regularity, you will put the defender in a tough situation because they must guard the shot and the different rip through moves.
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