With the NBA a quarter of the way into the season we take a look at the current steals leader, O.G. Anunoby, and breakdown how he’s been racking up so many steals this season.
O.G. Anunoby leads the NBA in steals this year with 48 steals, averaging 2.4 STL per game. Let’s breakdown the areas in which he’s gotten most of those steals:
1-pass away = 10 STL
On-Ball = 7
Weakside Rotation = 7
Ball Screen Tag/Switch = 5
1-Pass Away Steals
This is O.G.’s most common stealing technique this season; jumping the passing lane 1-pass away from the ball handler. This requires good positioning, anticipation and deception. Although some of these steals come from being in good denial position, most of these steals come from baiting the ball handler into a pass and intercepting it mid flight. This idea of luring the passer into a pass is important to racking up steals. Rarely do ball handlers just throw the ball to the defender, they need to see an open man (or seemingly open) to initiate a pass - and that’s where you come in.
This is O.G.’s second most common stealing situation and is a topic we’ve discussed in great length here on this channel (check out On-Ball Steals). It is fun to see someone with O.G.’s on-ball ability also lead the league in steals; typically it is a lesser on-ball defender who is great in the passing lanes and rotating behind great defenders. But in this case O.G. Anunoby is a lockdown defender in all categories. He can match up with the other team’s best wing or guard, or can roam off the ball and cause havoc in rotations.
Weakside Rotations Steals
This is O.G. Anunoby’s third most coming stealing situation and is a testament to his awareness and defensive IQ. To be successful off ball, defenders need to have constant activity, awareness of the ball and spacing as well as a deep sense of pattern recognition. O.G. is great at zoning up the weakside on drives and using the Goal Keeper Technique (check out the full breakdown) to intercept kick-out passes.
Ball Screen Steals
This is the last category where we see O.G. get a large portion of his steals this season. Pairing perfectly with his Weakside awareness, the ball screen is the most common pattern in all of basket. Being able to navigate these screens in the action and rotate to them off-the-ball is imperative for a team defense and an individual defender making a difference for his team. Which makes sense, when an offense runs a pick and roll, most of the attention will be in the two-man action; thus being able to take away the roller is key to stopping the action and getting some surprise steals against the offense.
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See you next time.