I posted earlier in the year about having and knowing what your main move is. In that case it was Sam Cassell with his patented baseline fadeaway jumper. When his career is all said and done, Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavs will probably be best known for dominating the high-post elbow. In my opinion, Dirk is unstoppable 1v1 from the elbow. He can pop the jumper or dribble drive even when well defended. Tonight, the Mavs man-handled the Grizzlies and I took a clip of this sequence of Dirk dominating from the elbow,

The High-Post Elbow:

Dirk is a nightmare matchup when it's an isolation set (which the Mavs run a lot of) with him at the elbow. Once he gets the ball there, you might as well count the points. He can shoot over just about anybody and with just 1 dribble can overpower smaller defenders and dunk it from there.

If I had a really dominant athletic forward, I would probably have an isolation set in my playbook where that player could get the ball at the high-post or elbow and just beat the defense 1v1 from there.


When watching the 2007 NBA Playoffs, one of the main reasons why Dirk and the Mavs struggled so much against the Warriors was because the Warriors forced Dirk out of the elbows out beyond the 3-point line. By forcing Dirk out of his comfort zone to the 3-point line where he cannot beat his defender off the dribble effectively, simply reduced Dirk to a jump shooter.

For a great new video on individual skill development, both forwards and guards, take a look at Tom Crean's Dynamic Skill Development DVD. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.