The basketball public measures the quality of a crossover mostly by the reaction of the defender. If he reaches and misses – good. If he loses balance – better. If he falls entirely – best. But that’s not always the best way to judge the merit of juke dribble. Context always matters in basketball, and the defender’s quality, size, and position is overlooked far too often in assessing crossovers. If Ty Lawson shakes Al Jefferson to the floor in an isolation at the top of the key, that doesn’t mean Lawson’s cross is any better than a similar one done by Stephen Curry that barely fools Ricky Rubio. But it sure does seem that way, and rightfully so; not even a poster dunk asserts a player’s dominance over an opponent like an ankle-breaking crossover.
You’ll notice that the NBA’s compilation of the best crossovers from 2013-2014 mostly highlights plays where the defender was left in dust. That’s fine. We understand the psychological and aesthetic merits of those sequences. But watch for the rare featured crossovers that are well defended but succeed regardless, too. They might not look it on the surface, but are often just as if not more impressive than their flashier counterparts.
You surely noticed that the league didn’t rank moves from this awesome video, so we did it for them. Here’s our top three crossovers of the 2013-2014 season:
(Video via NBA)
What’s your favorite crossover of last season?
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