Outside Hand Steal - Tony Allen
When Tony Allen speaks on defensive technique, I’m surely going to listen. Many years ago I did a breakdown of his defense - it was so long I even broke it down into two parts (Youtube Link). One technique in particular that I found him using went against the fundamental age-old teaching, how he stole the ball in passing lanes.
Like many players however, I assumed it was something he subconsciously did and had real game benefit. I’ve seen this many times with shooters describing shooting mechanics, they sometimes describe the age-old teaching even though on film they do something slightly unorthodox. However in Tony Allen’s case, I was surprised to realize he was in fact consciously do the technique and knew coaches probably wouldn’t agree with him. Here is a link to that video: Tony Allen Talks Defense.
He explained how he feels the outside hand gives him a better chance at getting steals and deflections opposed to his inside hand. Breaking apart the fundamental deny hand deflection that has been taught for decades.
Instead Tony Allen wanted to keep his vision on the target, the ball, and get the last chance at intercepting it. This technique also opens your body more naturally to the ball’s path and thus increases your reach and wingspan. It is much hard to extend your deny hand in this same way because it would force you to completely loose vision of the ball.
Of course, there is a disclaimer. Tony Allen is extremely savvy with understanding offensive movements and patterns. He isn’t worried about back cuts when he uses this technique because in those moments he uses it and in the NBA, he will rarely see those back cuts in those situations with those matchups. And perhaps that’s the main takeaway here, understanding what your matchup and the offense is trying to do is the key to gaining the advantage. Once you’ve done your homework, how you take advantage can fly in the face of age-old fundamentals - especially if they’re better techniques anyway.
First team all defense! First team all defense!
See you next time.