4 Strong Gap Finishes Against Help-Side Defenders

How many times in a game are you driving to finish in the gap and you pull back with a retreat dribble? Probably more than you want to count. You are not alone; most players find themselves in the same situation as they were never taught how to finish strong. Here are 4 ways to finish at the basket in any help-side defender situation:

  1. Dribble change – You are driving to the basket and you see a help-side defender reaching to disrupt your drive. To stay in control, you make a quick dribble change and continue your path to the basket. The key to this move is to get the ball to the opposite hip from the defender. Depending on skill level, this can be accomplished with a simple crossover or as complex as a between the legs or behind the back.
  2. Cradle – This move resembles a football tuck, or what you see in a football game when a quarterback hands the ball off to his runningback. This move is used when you are going through a crowd of defenders and you must cradle the ball to protect it from all the hands reaching in. Remember, you get 2 steps after a dribble, so don’t be afraid you will be called for a travel on this move. Protect the ball and finish despite the contact.
  3. Overhead – When the defenders are reaching low to either strip the ball or go for a held ball, you must respond to their actions. Basketball is a game of opposites. They go low, you go high. In response to the defenders, you put the ball over your head, allowing the ball to avoid contact and finish at the basket.
  4. Hip Swivel – On your initial drive, your chest is facing the help-side defender. When they reach for the ball, you swivel your hips and change hands with the ball. This puts the help-side defender to your back, freeing you up to finish at the rim.

To see a video on each of these finishes, including a bonus one, visit our FB page by clicking HERE.

These moves cause you to become a willing passer as you are now attracting so much attention from help-side defenders that one of your teammates will be open for a shot. This will improve your passing skills, court vision, and court leadership, all skills coaches look for in exceptional players.