Do you sometimes feel lost out on the court? Maybe you’re playing as hard as you can but can only get a basket or two during the game, or perhaps even no baskets.
Sometimes we, as basketball players, can feel like we’re doing everything right. We’re working on our skills daily, training in the weight room, and being good teammates, and yet we are frustrated because we can’t seem to find the success that others do on the offensive end.
This post is dedicated to those looking to unlock their offensive skills and help their team on the court by consistently putting the ball through the hoop because the name of the game is scoring points.
Read on to discover how to unlock your potential on the offensive end!
A “Money Move” is a player’s go-to move. A signature move. The most notable move in NBA history is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook. A modern-day version in recent years has been James Harden’s signature step-back or Kawhi Leonard’s patented mid-range shot.
This is the move players repeatedly use because they practice it so often that it is difficult for them to miss. It is a reliable form of offense.
If you don’t have a signature move, it is easy to feel lost when you get the ball. You may practice lots of moves when you’re in the gym alone, so when you get the ball, you don’t know what to do with it, leading to a lack of confidence in your offensive capabilities.
The name of the game is scoring more points than the other team. While rebounding, defending, and jumping out of the gym are all important, players can only unlock their offensive potential if they have a go-to move they can rely on when the going gets tough.
If it is difficult to score when someone passes you the ball, and you don’t know what to do with it, mastering a money move will help you have confidence when you have the ball in your hands.
I’ve had teammates who get the ball and are not a threat to score. The defense can relax a bit as soon as they touch the ball. This has been a problem for me as a player, too.
Mastering a money move can give you the confidence you need to put the ball in the hole.
Mastering your money move is a process that takes time and effort. You may try out different moves until you find one that works repeatedly.
You need to evaluate your current game and study great NBA players until you finally determine what move is your money move.
From there, it is all about practicing the same move over and over and over until it becomes second nature. Of course, if you continue to make the same move repeatedly in a game, the defender will know what you’re doing when you get the ball, so developing a countermove becomes paramount.
Take a look at the steps below to help you on your path to becoming an offensive machine!
What position do you primarily play on the court? Knowing this can help determine which move is best suited for the spot you occupy. A point guard will have a much different money move than someone who primarily starts in the post(though it is good for guards of any type to have a go-to post move if they find themselves with their back to the basket).
Evaluate the primary way in which you score points. There may be a move you already use consistently. Identify that and determine how to get to that spot on the court more often. Maybe it’s a dribble pull-up after a crossover that allows you to get past your defender or a catch and shoot three from the corner. For post players, it might be a physical drop step or baby hook from the middle of the lane.
Playing 1-on-1 can help in determining this as well. Identify what allowed you to score on your opponent and determine if that is your money move.
I mentioned Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook earlier. This is a move Kareem identified early on in his career. He perfected the move over many years, which is the main thing that helped him become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer for decades until LeBron finally surpassed him in the 2022-23 season. It may not seem like much, but it was nearly impossible for defenders to affect the shot.
Dirk Nowitzki was a fan of the one-legged fadeaway. Tim Duncan would create space to get to his patented bank shot. James Harden has his step-back that he could catch defenders off guard with and then countermove into a drive to the basket for easy layups.
Watch your favorite player or a player that plays the same position as you, evaluate their moves, and try to identify if there is a move you can use on the court as well.
Once you’ve evaluated your own game and studied the moves of some of the greatest players in the world, it is time to determine your best move – the go-to when you find yourself with the ball.
It could be a jab step to get your defender leaning one way, then a dribble pull-up. Or maybe your move is without the ball. Steph Curry is known for running around the court to gain separation from his defender so he can catch and shoot. Allen Iverson had a killer crossover that gave him space to get him into a jump shot. LeBron recently developed a fake drive step-back to give him space for a three-point shot.
There are so many options for potential signature moves out there. Don’t be afraid to steal a move from another player. More times than not, they stole that move from someone else!
Before you can become consistent with the move in the game, you need to get into a gym or go out on your driveway and practice the same move repeatedly.
This isn’t the most fun thing to do, but it pays the most dividends on the court when you have the ball in your hands in a position to score.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re having trouble scoring with it right away. It took Kareem years to perfect the sky hook, but once he finally did, he was the most prolific and consistent scorer in the league for years.
My money move has been the left shoulder baby hook. I’ve used this move for a long time. Eventually, teams and guys I’ve played with for a long time are aware of this move, so they do whatever they can to stop me from getting where I want to go. I had to develop a counter-move. The first was an up-and-under, courtesy of Kevin McHale. I also added a drop step to my right shoulder if my defender was overplaying the left shoulder.
The defender’s job is to try to stop you from scoring. One of the ways they can do this is by knowing your tendencies and putting themselves in a position to stop you from getting to where you want to go.
Develop a countermove to your money move to catch the defender off guard and give you the separation you need to score.
I think a basketball player only needs two moves to score – the money move and the countermove. Don’t bog yourself down with too many moves, or you’ll be overwhelmed on the court.
Having said that, if your defender doesn’t make the necessary adjustments to stop you, keep going back to the same move. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!
Don’t easily discard your money move if it doesn’t work immediately. Keep practicing it, and you will become more confident and decisive on the court. It’s all about getting you to the spot where you are the most effective on the court.
If the move isn’t paying dividends after some time, then reevaluate your game. Is there another spot on the floor where your efficiency is increasing and you’re making most of your shots? Try that out for a while and see if it works better.
Do not change the move every game. You need to have a bigger sample size. There have been games here and there where I get to my money move consistently, and the ball doesn’t fall through the basket. Everyone has those games. Basketball is an imperfect sport. Don’t overthink it. Basketball is a simple game.
One of the main things NBA players focus on is creating space. The theory is if they get enough room to get a shot off, it is a good shot, whether they make it or miss it. (Pro tip: don’t beat yourself up after a missed shot if it was a good shot. Even the best in the world only make half their shots.)
They constantly develop ways to create space: jab steps, step-backs, crossovers, killer crossovers. There are a million moves to help you create space and get a shot up.
Skill work becomes essential. Developing solid ball-handling skills can get you past your defender, while a balanced jab step throws your defender off-balance, allowing you to attack and get to your spot.
As I mentioned, my money move is the left shoulder jump hook.
Before I identified my money move(with the help of my coaches), I felt lost on the court and was scared to have the ball in my hands because I didn’t want to make a mistake. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way.
Once you identify your go-to move, you’ll feel a difference in your confidence when you have the ball in your hands. You’ll get the ball more often and score more points, which is one of the best parts of the game.
Evaluate your move, study the greats, reevaluate, practice, and develop a countermove, and you’ll be scoring consistently in no time!