I wasn’t fortunate enough to grow up watching Kevin McHale play (I guess MJ is a nice consolation prize) but from everything I’ve seen in old clips and have heard from smart people, McHale had the best post moves ever. The guy had counters for his counters, blending a whirling array of pumpfakes and impeccable footwork. He thrived on knowing what you thought he was going to do, then he did the opposite.
Now imagine trying to defend against that brand of mental warfare…except now you’re backpedaling and here comes your man, sprinting right at you.
That’s why I love Chris Paul on the break, and I think that’s a large part of why the Clippers have been able to rattle off five straight. The tempo seems to have picked up, and now it’s not Chris Paul against five guys and a coach, it’s Chris Paul against one or two lonely defenders, on their heels, peeking behind Paul for that #32 train that might run them over.
Paul had a move against the Jazz on Saturday night that you’ve probably already seen. Chances are, if you go down to the park tonight, you’ll see someone try to pull it off. Here’s the thing though — this wasn’t a quick flash of brilliance — this was a long con. Paul has been setting this move up for weeks.
Backup point guard Eric Bledsoe loves the between the legs pass to a trailer on the break, and like any great player, Paul adopted it and took it for his own, just like Tony Parker took Allen Iverson’s floater. But that’s not enough for Paul, and that’s what makes him great. For every move Paul has, there’s a counter. His nasty crossover has his even nastier in and out dribble that turns defenders into gargoyles.
But this? This is just unfair.