Add face-up game to offensive repertoire
The first area I’d like to address is ways Steve Enoch can beat defenders with the ball in a face-up situation.
Enoch knows his strengths. I’ll give him that. He is well-aware of his size and stature and he knows defenders are well-aware of this as well. We saw last season how dominant he could be with his back to the basket in the post. In all honesty, at times his ability to take two or three dribbles, spin, and put up a floating jumper over either shoulder looked like the next coming of a young Dwight Howard. While I say that a bit tongue in cheek, Enoch showed that he had real offensive potential.
He also showed the ability to step out and hit jumpers from the free-throw line and beyond, something that makes him an extremely attractive prospect to NBA teams, especially considering his rawness.
Last season Enoch shot 53 percent from the field while going 36 percent from the three-point line, making 14 threes out of his 39 attempts. This season as he continues to evolve his game adding a new element will be crucial while continuing to establish dominance consistently.
My critique of his face-up offense lies within the realm of the first step off the catch.
When any player receives a pass in a face-up, he/she has several choices. You can drive, back away, pass, catch-and-shoot,etc. In most situations with Enoch, he prefers to survey the defender.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Let me put that out there. But there are ways to mislead the defender in order to plow the space or path you need to attack the rim or rise for a shot.
One way is by jab stepping. A (good) jab step is when the non-pivot foot stomps forward with a booming impact on the court surface, causing a loud scoot sound with the shoe.
An effective jab step will be respected by the defender and will cause them to backpedal enough to create a bubble for the shooter to go into their shot without fear of impairment.
Steve lacks a next-level jab, but as I stated before, lighter feet can do so much for a player. His off-season work in the department should come in handy here. The quicker the jab step, the less reaction time a defender has to make a play on the ball.
Another thing he can improve while facing up is the speed of his rip-through.
A rip through or “rip” is when a player swings the ball below his/her knees off a catch in a “U” motion, keeping the ball out of the defender’s immediate reach and could subsequently change the momentum of which way the player intends to drive.
By achieving a fast and out-of-reach rip, any defender guarding Enoch will have no choice but to leave their defensive stance momentarily and slide towards the direction he rips.
This would open up opportunities for misdirection, leading him to a shot at the rim or a clean pull-up jumper. In Steve’s case, I’m happy with either.