Famous Basketball Players You Should Watch and Study on a Daily Basis
Watching NBA basketball as a young basketball player, it can seem like those guys are playing another sport entirely. Their skill level, athleticism, speed, and power are off the charts, and that’s part of what makes the NBA so great.
But studying the pros can teach you more than you think about how to get better at basketball. Sure, they’re playing at a level few can dream of playing at. But the same fundamentals, skills and basketball concepts they’re executing can help players at any level.
At Hoop Group, we offer basketball skills training for players at all levels, and a number of NBA legends have passed through our doors. Here are several current NBA stars you can study as they apply their craft in order to improve your own game.
No player in NBA history has, Hoop Group Alumni, Kevin Durant’s length, athleticism, and hand-eye coordination. That’s what makes him one of the greatest scorers of all time. But there’s more to KD’s game than just his physical gifts.
Durant moves off the ball to put himself in positions to attack defenses in ways they are not set up to handle. When he identifies a weak spot, he puts a defender in a position to have to give something up, and he’ll pounce on those weaknesses ruthlessly.
On top of that, Durant is an underrated defender whose movement and lateral quickness make him a constant presence on the defensive end.
Some people complain about James Harden’s game. And it’s true that there’s an element of cynicism to his constant appeals for fouls. But you can learn a tremendous amount about positioning from the way James Harden plays.
There’s no player in the NBA today with as good an understanding of how to position his own body at all times. Everything Harden does is purposeful. He’s always looking for that tiny step back or forward from an opponent that signals his time to strike.
Whether it be drawing contact from an overbalanced, lunging defender or finding just enough space for a step-back three-pointer, Harden is a master of feeling for space and gauging just how much he has to work with. Learning how to leverage spacing is a skill that isn’t taught as frequently as some others, but it’s a great tool in your arsenal.
If you want to study a complete, all-around player, look no further than Paul George. Over the years, George has made himself into a master of every facet of the game, and watching him play can teach you so many things.
While George is blessed with excellent length for an SG/SF, he wasn’t always a great rebounder. But now, you can see how he uses his body intelligently and proactively to box opposing players out and anticipate rebounds.
Earlier in his career, George wasn’t a particularly great ball handler. But over the years, George worked on his handles, and now he can play on or off the ball as his teammates and the offense requires.
And from a defensive standpoint, George is one of the best in the league. His ability to lock down a player one-on-one or rotate as part of a help defense scheme is excellent.
All in all, watching Paul George on a daily basis shows you the right way to play in all facets of the game.
Another Hoop group Alumni worth studying is the six-time NBA All-Star, Kyrie Irving. After becoming a high school basketball star in New Jersey, Irving then went on to become the number one draft pick for the Cavaliers in 2011.
Irving won his first championship in 2016 with the Cavaliers due, in part, to his great scoring ability. Irving has moved on to two other teams since and the 6’3” NBA super star continues to be one to watch for all aspiring basketball players.