Ball fakes are one of the subtle joys of basketball. Completely punking a defender is such a satisfying accomplishment, but it only gets any attention if the end result is a basket.
With that in mind, the NBA compiled the best ball fakes from the 2016-17 season, and seeing the results all lined up like that are just tremendous. Some of the best plays of the season came from an individual effort where the person with the ball merely appears to have given it up.
Ricky Rubio faking out the entire Los Angeles Lakers squad for an easy layup is an early favorite on the list, but Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade all have great fakes on this top 10 list.
D’Angelo Russell takes two Miami Heat out of the play in one, and poor Marcin Gortat’s brutalization by Steph Curry makes the list, too. You know the one, where Curry didn’t even have to dribble to get the Washington Wizards forward to completely lose his mind. That was just No. 4 on the list.
A behind-the-back fake from Kyrie Irving also ranks high on the list, though I won’t spoil No. 1 for anyone who somehow hasn’t seen it this season. With all the drama that’s consumed the NBA this offseason, this is a good reminder that the games played on the court are just as good as all the talk we’ve had off it this summer.
It will be good to see ball fakes again this fall.