Inside the Move: Switch Hand Finishes

Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, center, shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Anderson Varejao, bottom, and guard Shaun Livingston (34) during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

An in-depth look at the Society’s Move of the Week

This week’s move of the week is brought to you by a mid-shot alteration which we’re calling switch hand finishes. The purpose of this move is to avoid any and all defenders at the rim looking to block the shot. How it’s performed is simply up to the offensive player. Depending on how and where the opponent is defending, the ball can be switched mid-air or on the gather.

Keys to the move

  1. Be under control. The offensive player must keep the ball under control and secured to give him or herself the best chance at making the shot.  The worst thing that an offensive player can do is pull off a $100 dollar move with a 15 cent finish. Going for a lay-up and switching hands looks very pretty but if it’s missed and missed bad—I’m talking top of the backboard bad, you better believe that substitute is already at the scorer’s table coming to get you out.
  2. Don’t Travel. Sometimes a player can be so focused on the defender and switching hands that they forget their only allowed two steps… Don’t be that guy that travels.
  3. English is your best friend. When switching hands, the lay-up may be going up at a unusual position so throwing some backspin or topspin, which we call English, provides a better chance of making the basket at a difficult angle.
  4. Last but not least, like any other move, make sure you practice. Don’t get in the game trying to do this and you’ve never done it before because more than likely you’ll embarrass yourself and definitely get subbed out of the game.

Switch hand finishes are difficult but they are useful. When a player can adjust at the basket and make difficult finishes, it puts them in a different class when discussing scoring ability. It agitates defenders because they think they have a deflection or a block but once the ball is switched and out of their reach: advantage offense.

We all know about the infamous hand switch that Michael Jordan did on the Los Angeles Lakers, which he easily could’ve dunked but switching hands made it look prettier. When I look at today’s game, Kyrie Irving may be the best at adjusting to the defense and switching hands. He has the capability of making tremendous shots amongst trees of defenders in the paint which is why he’s one of, if not the best finisher we have in the game today. Watch Kyrie switch hands on his now teammate, LeBron James:



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