Finding themselves matched up with Russell Westbrook in isolation would be a nightmare for even the NBA’s most fierce defenders.
The 2017 NBA MVP has a lethal combination of ball handling and explosiveness that allow him to create space or blow by defenders especially when he has them on an island. One of Westbrook’s go-to moves in these situations is the Hesitation Crossover which combines his handle and athleticism into a simple yet effective maneuver.
The goal of the hesitation crossover is to freeze your defender with the hesitation then make them believe you are moving in one direction, getting them to shift before crossing over and changing directions.
This is what it looks like:
Let’s break down each of the movements within the crossover so that you can learn the move and add it to your game:
(For the sake of this breakdown we will explain the crossover from right to left as Westbrook uses in this example.)
- To set up the hesitation you must first push the ball out to the right side of your body in order to sell your drive to the right. (You can do this with a subtle in-and-out move, a crossover, between the legs or behind the back.)
- At the same time you will push off of your left foot into a slow hop or lean to your right side with the ball. This slow movement will serve as the hesitation that will freeze your defender.
- You will gather the ball in your right hand and as soon as you plant your right foot down you will quickly change pace and make a fast, hard cut off of your right foot. As you change directions you will quickly cross the ball over from your left to right hand.
- The change in pace is essential to this move and beating you defender because they will not anticipate the slow to fast movement and will not be able to react quick enough.
- After you have cut from your right foot and shifted the ball into your left hand you will decide to either pull up for a jump shot or stay low and use your left foot to start your drive toward the basket. As you drive you will want to attack your defender’s right hip and cut off their angle to recover and beat you to the hoop. It is important to take a tight angle to get past your man and finish at the rim.