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How do you Nutmeg a Player?
Generally, nutmegging isn’t something you would want to do in a high school or college basketball game, you would have a hard time explaining to your coach why the move didn’t work on the bench. Leave nutmegging to pick up and one on one games you will have a better time trying to pull this off, with less pressure.
The first and a very easy way to nutmeg a player is during a 5 on 5 basketball game when you get a defensive rebound or receive an outlet pass from your big man.
Many players do not run back on defense but try to go for the steal in the backcourt, which is a very lazy way to play defense. This is the perfect time to nutmeg these players, especially if is difficult to get around them if there is no space to do so.
You want to put it through the player’s legs, as this is the last thing a player will think you will do, and then get around him to get your hand on the ball to continue your dribble down the court. I have done this numerous times and it works. The more you use it the more players expect it though.
A second way to nutmeg a player is when you dribble up the sideline down the court and the defensive player cuts you off, they create a wide stand with their feet spread apart to try and trap you or contain you midcourt. When they do this as they are spreading their legs apart you don’t have anywhere to go but put the ball through their legs and nutmeg them, you have to stay in bounds if you continue to dribble or touch the basketball, so do not go to the side where the out of bounds is. When you do this you will realize your instincts will just kick in.
That is exactly what happened to me I had no choice but to put the ball through the defenders legs, this was the only opening I saw and now from time to time, I look for this move often.
There often times where it is much easier to pass the ball through the defender’s legs to get the ball down to the post. This is actually easy to do. When trying to get the ball down to the post, use pass fakes to do so, fake a pass to make a pass, the defender will take a wide stance knowing you want to get the ball down low this is the perfect time to get the ball to your teammate via the nutmeg. When you see his legs spread out pass the ball through his legs.
One on One
When playing one on one the nutmeg becomes more difficult to do. With every attempt to nutmeg the player may expect it and will see it coming. Still, it’s one thing to expect and another to stop it from happening.
First the setup
The closer you are to the basket the more difficult it is to nutmeg the player and immediately shoot the ball. You need enough space to retrieve the ball and if you are going to shoot right away, you do not want to get caught underneath the basket. Timing is critical, and make sure you are not telegraphing the move.
You should attempt the nutmeg somewhere around the three point line to start. Otherwise any closer and your risking the defense to recover in time and you won’t be able to get your shot off.
There are two options
The first is when you see an opportunity to nutmeg the player’s legs when they are open before you even take a dribble do so, that will be your first dribble. They are least likely to expect it, you can get a quick basket in the process, when they are flat footed it makes it very easy to pull this move off.
Second option is to use a series of dribble moves to set up the defender, your goal is to get him flat footed and mesmerize him with your dribbling so he is looking at the ball, then when he least expects it nutmeg him.