5 NBA Guards That Bigs Should Never Switch Out On
With all of the body movement and cross-matching that happens throughout the course of a basketball game, “switching” can become a common and sometimes necessary defensive practice. Usually the result of a switch is some kind of mismatch, leaving a player guarding a position they’re not usually guarding. This list here is about the NBA guards who I think take tremendous advantage of their opportunities when bigs switch out on them, in other words, their eyes light up when they see a big man coming out to try and contain them.
NBA offenses are mostly structured around pick and roll action. For teams like the Chicago Bulls, who have an agile and active center like Joakim Noah, switching the ball screen sometimes isn’t all that bad. Noah is part of a small exception of bigs who can move their feet at least well enough to try and force the player into a contested shot. But for most this is not the ideal situation, especially when the guys on this list are the players making the decisions with the basketball.
With that said, here are five of them that big guys should never want to switch out on:
What’s bad for bigs guarding Steph Curry on the perimeter is he’s more than likely to take a really difficult, high-arching shot that won’t be up for contest in the end. Curry’s quick trigger is what makes him such a ridiculous threat in transition, off the dribble and off the catch. For slower bigs, sure he can get by you if he feels like it, but Curry’s way of making you look foolish is by dancing with you and then throwing up a shot , if you’re still on your feet by the time he’s finished.
If I was a big man in the league right now, and saw the 2011 Big East championship game where Kemba Walker made the game-winning shot on a step back jumper in which PIttsburgh’s big man Gary McGhee SWITCHED on him after a ball screen, I’d know better than to ever volunteer myself for that. The Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic learned for himself first hand. Walker is one of the dynamic and crafty point guards in the league. He likes to play with that New York City flare and he literally wants to make you look bad. Ever since that step-back, bigs should be steering clear of Kemba Walker.
Another craftsman with the basketball. It’s hard enough for guards to stay in front of Irving and contain, there’s no reason for any big to ever want to switch out on Kyrie Irving. You’re simply asking to be scored on in an embarrassing way. We’re talking about Uncle Drew. Kyrie lives to sauce you up. He tries to sauce guards up, so big men just look like chopped liver when they go out his way. Irving’s creativity with the basketball really comes out on those switches and bigs are guaranteed to get yoked and snatched right up. Not to mention he can then lull you and find his airspace for a shot, like so:
This is what we call, cold. https://t.co/5HRTbgZbHv
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) January 29, 2015
The Frenchman doesn’t do much dancing or toying with you, but what’s rough is the downhill speed of Tony Parker. Once he gets that switch, unless it’s the better read to swing and exploit the other mismatch, Parker’s getting his head of steam to attack you straight on. There’s simply nothing for a big to accomplish in this situation. Parker’s speed usually makes it quick and painless. He’s by you before you can even get yourself situated.
First off, switching on Chris Paul is a bad idea because of sheer exposure. He’s going to expose whatever match up is created by that switch, whether it’s his advantage or someone else’s. They don’t call him “Point God” for nothing. But besides putting your team in a position to get operated on, switching out on Chris Paul is a bad idea for any big because they can’t stop him from doing whatever he feels like doing at the time. He’ll take the shot if you give him air space, he’ll blow by you, and he’ll embarrass you with his chop game as he pleases.
Highly honorable mention: Jamal Crawford, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, John Wall