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page id: 236130 NBA Basketball Defensive Terminology

Dig out in Basketball Post (Video)


Dig out in Post:
NBA Basketball Defensive Terminology: perimeter defender drops to help, then challenges the post player’s dribble in the lane..

With the offense typically cutting off of punch actions, digging as a whole is fluid. On one post possession, the defensive digger might change multiple times. Most commonly, the post feeder cuts through after dumping the ball inside to give his back-to-the-basket teammate space.

'Dig" ia a brief lunge by a perimeter defender toward a posting up offensive player intended to bring secondary ball pressure without double-teaming.

Explanation: According to traditional Basketball  (external link) defenisve principles, the primary help defender traps the box by sliding over into position once the on-ball defender has been beaten with a no-middle drive. With anticipation and early two-nining, this helper can even prevent drives before they occur without actually leaving his original man.

Trapping the box sets off an avalanche of rotations in behind—including sinking and filling as well as possibly x-ing out—because there is time to cover the gaps. The post-up, which is an isolation of its own kind, does not afford this luxury. Given that the posting up offensive player is so close to the basket, defensive help decisions are more binding.

The only in-between recourse similar to the two-nine is the “dig,” in which a perimeter player lunges back and forth between the posting up player and his own man. The idea is to cause discomfort by constantly feigning a double-team. At best, this might lead to a fruitless kickout by the post player as the digger darts right back out to his man.

Sometimes the digger can cause mishandling of the ball as the post player moves middle through the dig. Other times the post player might fade toward the sideline to relieve himself of the pressure. With a proper dig, there are many positive outcomes.

As for who the digger is, it’s always the nearest perimeter defensive player to the “punch” action—NBA terminology for a post-up. Also important is that the dig is not a sneak attack from the weak-side, because that would result in far too long a distance between the digger his man.

If the post player sniffs it out, he can throw an easy skip pass for a wide open three-point shot.

When a dig takes place is also of great importance. The best digs occur after the post player has put the ball on the ground, because this naturally limits his passing vision. Even though most NBA players are able to dribble with their heads up, they are much better passers pre-dribble.

Not only can they see the entire floor, but the dribble can still be used as a weapon to escape pressure. Once the post player dribbles, however, he must at least keep part of his concentration on ball control—and therefore be more easily unsettled by a dig.

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Damian Lillard dig steal Technique: Basketball Moves

How To Dig: With the offense typically cutting off of punch actions, digging as a whole is fluid. On one post possession, the defensive digger might change multiple times. Most commonly, the post feeder cuts through after dumping the ball inside to give his back-to-the-basket teammate space. The post feeder’s defender, however, must be ready to dig if he stays put, but also prevent a quick pass to the feeder should he cut.

This is why the most critical part of the dig is the orientation—that is, the directionality of the digger’s body. While this might not matter for the dig itself, it is crucial for the denial of basket cuts.

Given that the digger is straddling the post player and his original man on the perimeter, he must remain cognizant of his man trying to slip into the paint.

To accomplish this, a technically sound digger faces the strong-side sideline with his back to the basket, as this keeps every potential cut by his man within his vision while still allowing him to dig. In short, it allows him to maintain a ball-digger-man alignment regardless of a cut.


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