Train To Guard Carmelo Anthony
Sorry kids, the headline is misleading. You’re probably not going to be able to successfully guard Carmelo Anthony. Even if somehow you got the opportunity to defend him, he’s 6’8”, 250 pounds and one of the strongest and most versatile scorers the NBA has seen. If you played great, sound defense on him, Carmelo would still probably be able to overpower you or shoot over you. That’s just the way it is. However, you do you have a chance to guard the Carmelo Anthonys you see in your basketball life. And when I say Carmelo Anthonys, I am referring to guys are who are super talented scorers. You’ve seen guys like this, guys who you can’t identify as merely shooters, drivers or post players, but guys who have the talent for simply scoring the basketball. Here are some tips for guarding those types of guys.
Do Your Defensive Work Early
Unless the talented scorer you are defending is a point guard, you will have the chance to do your work early. And that means stopping your man from getting the ball when and where he wants it. An effective strategy is to make body contact early and make your man fight through you to get to the basketball. You don’t want to foul him, but you do want to play aggressive (and physical) deny defense. When a scorer has to work hard to get the ball, this accomplishes a couple of things. One, he may decide not to fight every possession and may take some offensive plays off. Two, his teammates trying to get the ball to him may see him struggling to get open (and not getting open cleanly) and may look elsewhere on a couple of possessions. And lastly, doing the extra work to get the ball can tire a scorer out by the end of the game and may make him less effective by that time.
Speed a Scorer Up
When great scorers get the ball, they have many options available to them. The really great ones feel like that they can do anything with the ball, and that can sometimes be a detriment. Instead of letting a scorer get the ball and dictate the possession, speed him up. Put defensive pressure on him at the catch and make him make a quick decision. This can lead to him passing the ball quickly or rushing into a quick, poorly selected shot. The worst thing you can do is let a scorer size you up for one or two seconds and find the weakness in your defense he wants to exploit. Many scorers are used to doing this and are not used to be making quick, high quality decisions.
Change the Defensive Look
Another thing you can do to help your cause is to change how you defend a scorer throughput the course of a game. Good scorers take note of how they’re being defended and will adjust to that defense in just a handful of possessions. If you’ve been guarding someone straight up for the first quarter, maybe at the beginning of the second quarter you take away the driving lane to the right and force him to drive left. This doesn’t allow him to get comfortable and dictate possessions like he wants to, and it also takes away one of his options – one less thing for you to worry about. If you continue to change looks throughout the game, you will make the scorer’s job tougher than it normally would be and you can more effectively stop him from having a career night against you..
Guarding the Carmelo Anthonys of the world is not easy. These tips can really help you slow a good one down, or at the very least make his job tougher. However if you really want to improve at the nuances of high-level defense, contact an experienced basketball trainer in your area today. Remember that working with a basketball trainer can help you step up your defensive game and happy guarding!