Words By: Kevin Ramsey
Ever since it was invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 and later adopted by the NBA in 1946, much of basketball’s primary fundamentals have largely remained the same. Disregarding many rules changes over the years, like the addition of the three-point line in 1977, getting good at a basketball still requires a sound understanding of the same principles that were practiced years ago.
One excellent method to improve your game is by copying some of the practices and traits that elite players with solid fundamentals have developed. This article will take a look at some of the most successful NBA stars who display a solid understanding of important fundamentals and what practices others can learn from them.
1. Dennis Rodman
Best known for his wild attire and the championships he earned with the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, Dennis Rodman entered the league being drafted by the “Bad Boy” Pistons in 1986. One of the most aggressive teams in basketball history, the Pistons employed a significant amount of physical play during their tenure at the top of the league in the late 1980’s. This type of physical play was very evident in Rodman’s primary ability; getting rebounds.
Getting a rebound, or as it is typically referred to as a getting a board, is when a player gets the ball in their possession after either a missed field goal or free throw. Getting as many rebounds as possible is very useful for teams as controlling the boards leads to more possessions which naturally leads to more points. Despite measuring at 6’7” in a time where most rebounders were where around 7 feet tall, Dennis Rodman used his physical strength and positional instincts to make up for his height advantage. Rodman was one of the key pieces that made the Chicago Bulls one of the best teams in NBA history.
By knowing how to be in the right place at the right time and anticipate where the ball will land after a missed shot attempt, Rodman recorded some of the best rebounding figures during his time in the NBA. Rodman’s achievements like leading the league in rebounding for half a decade demonstrates that a solid understanding of the fundamentals of rebounding can help any player regardless of their size excel in their game.
2. Chris Paul
Knowing when to pass and when not to pass in basketball is more important than it may seem. While a good pass can generate an assist or a player getting free throws, erroneous passes often lead to turnovers which are equivalent to giving opponents free points. Mastering this skill of making good passes is difficult. However, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has done an excellent job at making the right passes throughout his career. By posting the highest assist-to-turnover by any point guard or player in history, Paul has shown time and time again that he knows the difference between a good pass and a bad pass. Overall, knowing how to make a good pass is a critical skill to master in basketball, and Chris Paul has done an excellent job of demonstrating its importance in his career.
3. Tim Duncan
Nicknamed “The Big Fundamental.” it is not difficult to understand the reason behind Tim Duncan’s immense success in the league. At 6’11” tall, much of Duncan’s play revolved around his perfection of post moves. During his first championship run in 1999, Duncan showed his talent early by easily posting up players and effortlessly turning around to score time and time again. Duncan’s five championships and MVP title is a testament to his commitment to working on his post moves and his fundamentals. When looking at Duncan’s career, kids interested in improving their game can learn that mastering fundamental or simple things like post moves is critical to enhancing their performance on the court.