The pump fake has been around since the beginning of basketball. Nothing creates better space for an open look than faking a shot and making a defender jump or run by. But Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry have recently added something extra to their pump fakes.
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After getting a screen from a teammate and having a big switch to defend them, both Curry and Paul have recently used this new and simple move. Once the bigger defender is guarding them, they perform a pump fake to get the big man in the air. Then they quickly fake a pass around him, making the big back up or spin around looking for a ball that’s not there. This leaves the wily guards wide open to shoot.
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First it was Paul a couple weeks ago against the Denver Nuggets. He was being guarded by Nuggets center Mason Plumlee and needed to create space for a shot. After the pump fake, Paul immediately fakes the pass and makes Plumlee look like a fool.
A couple of games later, Paul did the same thing to Phoenix Suns center Alex Len. Not only was Len caught off guard by the move, so were the other Suns players around him.
Curry must have noticed the effectiveness of Paul’s move, because he tried it out for himself during the Warriors’ Sunday night game against the Washington Wizards. Wizards center Marcin Gortat was trying to keep up with Curry, but the 2-time NBA MVP hit him with the double-move and Gortat spun like a top.
The move seems to be as effective as it is entertaining. It’s hard enough for centers to stay out on the perimeter to defend guards, but this move makes it almost impossible.