I took in an the exhibition game between FC Barcelona and the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend in between college football games and it was really a treat to watch. I love how basketball has grown internationally and how an NBA team playing a european team is no longer seen as just a novelty anymore. There's so much parity in skills now that teams come and expect to beat NBA teams.

Anyways, I took a couple of clips from the first half featuring Kobe and Andrew Bynum of the Lakers. One of those intangibles that separates the really great players who can create their shot whenever they want and the average players who can only make a play when they're open is footwook. Watch a great player, Jordan, Bird, Olajuwon, Malone, and one thing you'll definitely notice is their outstanding footwork. Watch how Kobe and Bynum show great footwork in executing the pivot and step through moves,

Plant, Pivot, Step Through:

Now I'm not sure if Kobe planned this move when he got the ball. But he uses everything in his arsenal to get the best shot. You can tell though, that he's practiced and rehearsed this move before many times. First he attacks with 1 dribble, then plants his feet, gets into triple threat, a quick head fake,

After he has successfully freezed the defender, he uses his front foot as a pivot and takes his back foot and steps through past the defender takes off into the air for the floater off the glass,

A very MJ style of move IMO. I think guards should use this move more often. A lot of guards don't effectively use their pivot, there's a lot of moves you can do off your pivot.

Just Stop, Pivot, Step Through:

Well, most teams won't have a big man that can move as well as Andrew Bynum but still, its something they should practice nonetheless. Here Bynum does a great job of taking a dribble, then into a hard jump stop into triple threat,

Again, after his defender freezes, he pivots off his front foot, steps through around the defender with his back foot and takes off for the basket using his body to shield a block attempt by the defender from behind,


That's where all that work in the summer pays off. Working on your footwork, shooting touch, etc... Guys who constantly look to improve their game during the off-season. You see guys to take it easy in the summer and it shows when training camp or practices start.

As for the Lakers, the biggest thing I noticed from watching them will be on defense. Seems like Pao Gasol and Bynum haven't exactly worked out how they will coexist together on defense. But I think they'll have it figured out once the season starts. With Kobe the assassin, the Lakers are still the top of the class in the west, with maybe the Hornets a close second.

If you're looking for help developing the individual skills of your team, check out Billy Donovan's DVD on Competitive Individual Development Drills. Coach Donovan is the head coach of the 2-time National Championship winning Florida Gators. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.