The NBA’s 10 Best Kill Moves

08.05.11 5 years ago • 36 Comments
Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Nike Basketball)

I have a question.

What are your thoughts on “Squirrel Week?” Would you watch it? Yes? Maybe? It would be a week long special; 24 hours a day, taking a look into the lives of squirrels. Episodes would include their characteristics and behaviors, along with the different species of squirrel and their indigenous roots. What they eat and where they live, as well as the origin of their name and where they were discovered. Squirrel experts would weigh in, breaking down the squirrel family tree and their various rodent relatives; similarities and differences – explaining what makes each species of squirrel so unique (I can’t believe I just typed that).

The answer is no. No one would watch this show. “Squirrel Week” would be worse than an episode of “Rizzoli and Isles.” It would be a ratings disaster. A networks worst nightmare. A catastrophe of XFL-like proportions. But there’s a reason no one would watch “Squirrel Week,” and it’s deeper than just, “who gives a s— about squirrels?”

No one would watch because squirrels eat acorns. No one would watch because squirrels are scared of ice. No one would watch because squirrels suck.

That’s why no one would watch.

Now, if Squirrels all of a sudden quadrupled in size and became a dog-eating-child-snatching-neighborhood-executioner, then people would watch. 35-pound squirrels leaping out of trees, chasing down bikes, ripping through fences – now that’s a show (you know you’d watch). See, we Americans like violent entertainment. It’s as simple as that. Put on a violent movie and we’re completely encapsulated, like a dog with a chew toy. Why do you think the five highest grossing Xbox 360 games are all rated “M for Mature?” BECAUSE WE LIKE VIOLENCE!!!

Having said that, this is a basketball website so my squirrle-slasher must come to an end. But in the honor of “Shark Week” and their underwater extermination, here’s a list of the ten best “kill moves” in the NBA.


10. Ray Allen Corner Jump Shot
Not the most physically imposing “kill move,” but technically the most deadly (worth three points). When Allen spots up in the corner, sets his feet and readies his hands, you might as well just put it in the book. The Boston sharpshooter needs little to no room to get off his jumper. But he’s not one dimensional – possessing the ability to hit shots on the move as well as fading away. Allen is a sniper and prefers to do most of his work from the corner. Take your eyes off him for just a second and it’s three points on the board.

9. Kevin Durant Rip Through
Definitely the most inventive and creative of the “kill moves.” Durant uses the defenders on-ball pressure to his advantage, ripping the rock up through the defenders out-stretched hands as he attempts to shoot the ball. This action automatically creates a shooting foul and the possibility for a three-to-four point play. Not only does this move consistently send Durant to the line, it gets defenders in foul trouble thus alleviating the pressure applied on him. Kevin – you’re so clever.

8. Derrick Rose Floater
Tony Parker‘s move, but a Derrick Rose modification. Once Rose gets into the lane – no matter which direction he’s facing – his quick trigger allows him to get off the floater whenever he wants. Because he’s rarely squared up on his drives, defender have trouble anticipating when the floater is coming. And with Rose’s elite athleticism and superior leaping ability, the shot is almost impossible to block.

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Dwight Howard

7. Zach Randolph Baby Hook
If you watched any of the Memphis vs. San Antonio series, you were involuntarily spoon-feed a healthy dose of Randolph-baby-hook. Randolph dominated the Spurs frontline with his customized baby hook. But just when you thought you had figured it out, he’d turn over his right shoulder and hit you with an up-and-under. Randolph’s baby hook isn’t flashy, but it’s effective. It’s one of the last fundamental “kill moves” in the league, a page out of the Duncan School of Post Moves.

6. Dwyane Wade Euro-Step
Though Dwyane Wade put the move on a national stage, Sarunas Marciulionis – a Lithuanian player – is credited with bringing the step to the NBA. Marciulionis played with four teams in the NBA before international players like Manu Ginobili started perfecting the step. Regardless, Wade is unstoppable when using this move. As he attacks the basket, he takes a wide step with his right foot, then jumps over to this left, a zig-zag type contortion. Once on his left, he explodes to the basket, usually resulting in two points.

5. Paul Pierce Step Back
It’s nothing special, but it’s effective. Pierce uses his size and frame to create separation from his defender when performing this move. Once at his spot – most often the elbow – Pierce uses a number of hesitation dribbles to get his defender off balance, then steps back for his jumper. It’s almost impossible to block and quite useful when an crucial bucket is needed.

4. Dwight Howard Put-Back Slam
I’m not sure if it’s really a “kill-move,” but when he does it, players scatter. Because of his size and strength, Superman is nearly impossible to block out. Once his position is established, the ball is almost always his. And once it is, the following occurs: Dwight comes down with the rebound, gathers his feet, spreads his elbows, and explodes to the rim. Once in the air, Howard – as vicious as possible – throws the ball through the cylinder, equally two points and an ear-piercing roar.

3. LeBron James Drive
This one’s pretty simple. LeBron gets the ball on the perimeter. LeBron throws out a couple jabs. LeBron choses an avenue. Then LeBron zooms down the lane. Because of his size and quickness, he doesn’t have much trouble after that. The result is either a hellacious dunk or free throws for the King (cue every stale LeBron joke there is).

2. Kobe Bryant Fadeaway
Kobe’s fadeaway is difficult to describe because there’s so many variations. Whether or not he copied MJ, the move is unguardable. We’ve been watching this mosaic for the last 13 years, and at the grizzled age of 32 (soon-to-be 33), Kobe gets it off whenever he pleases.

1. Dirk Nowitzki Fadeaway
The single most unguardable-unfair-video-game-esque-stop-it-or-I-quit shot in the entire NBA. Dirk put on a show in the playoffs, proving why he’s not only one of the best players in the game today, but one of the best players of all-time. His one-foot fallaway has been researched, documented, calculated, and examined. Hell, I think even Doctor Oz took a crack at it. Regardless, this shot is the single best “kill move” in the NBA today.

What is the best kill move in the NBA?

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