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Kill the Pivot

This is a technique used when covering a dead dribble or a pivoting offensive player. It is often seen in traps as an offensive player picks up their dribble and pivots away from the pressure leaving their pivot foot in the teeth of the trap. This position kills the offensive player’s ability to create any more space and leaves them off-balanced on their back foot.

The same can occur for an individual pressure defender. If the offensive player picks up their dribble, the defender can attempt to ramp up the pressure. If the offensive player’s responds to the pressure by pivoting to their back foot and exposing their pivot foot in front, the defender can jam up this leg and even straddle the foot; making it impossible for the offensive player to continue to pivot and change their angle.

This can also be used if an offensive player hasn’t dribbled yet but is instead focused on finding a pass for a set play or avoiding pressure. In this case, the defender needs to be concerned about pressuring too soon and giving up a first step blow by. But if the offensive player pivots away from the pressure there is an opportunity to jam up the pivot leg and prevent the offensive player from getting back to a square stance to use their first step.

Kevin Garnett was great at this technique. Suffocating any pivots and imposing a disruptive control: making it difficult to pass or even get to a first step. Whether he accomplished this by straddling the pivot foot or getting chest-to-chest under the ball.

A great technique to give defenders purpose when pressuring a dead ball, a player focused on running the set play or a defender as imposing as KG.

See you next time.

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