When saying “basketball is a game of deception”, most of the images and examples that come to mind are the deceptions on the offensive end of the court: I’m going left, no I’m not, I’m going right. I’m taking this outside shot, sorry, I think I’ll drive to the hoop now that I’ve deceived you into thinking I was shooting! I’m stepping outside to catch this pass, oh-oh, backdoor pass for a layup! And on and on. But what of deception on defense? Deception cannot apply only to half the game, can it?
Deception is “the game within the game” and it takes place all over the court. There are numerous examples of where and when deception proves worthwhile on defense. I’ll tell you my absolute favorite in the hope that it will become your favorite defensive ploy and that you’ll use it, too. (Larry Bird, by the way, was the best ever at this.) After you’ve scored and you are under the hoop, teammates herding down the center of the court to your defensive end and as a couple players from the opposition are about to casually inbound and catch the inbounds pass, respectively, you act like you are going to join your mates; you’re just looking all lazy, slow to get back. Noting where the receiver is, you turn your back to the ball, taking one or two or more steps away (gauging when the ball will be thrown in) and then, quick as a cat from under a bush, you step into the passing lane and grab the inbounds pass, that lazy unsuspecting inbounds pass (probably a fat slow bouncing one that nestles into your hands, hip high, thank you) and either you score yourself (fun!) or wait for your teammates (who now regard you as a hero, and who probably won’t really ever trust you, either, deceiver that you are).