Stepbacks have become a potent weapon in today’s NBA. Players are using it more than ever. Although this move seems simple to make, it involves a lot of artistry to pull off. Here are the top 3 stepback magicians in the league.
Steph Curry is among the top ball handlers in the NBA. He has a lot of magic tricks in his bag, and one of them is stepback. What makes Steph’s stepbacks lethal is how he moves the ball and goes to places using a change in pace and direction. With Curry, defenders cannot give him any space. As one of the best, if not the best shooters of all time, defenders need to stick to him all the time, but he’s also fast and crafty and can get by if you defend too close.
For any opposing teams, it’s all about picking their poison: give Steph the open shot or let him attack the basket. Curry keeps defenders guessing, which makes his stepbacks all the more lethal. You can look at his highlights below:
Harden brought the hype back to stepbacks. Once considered a “bad” shot because of the angle and balance of the offensive player, stepbacks are now considered a thing of beauty. Harden may have even revolutionized the move with his craftiness and magic.
Some critics often say The Beard travels with his stepbacks, but the referees are not calling it, which means they are perfectly legal based on NBA rules. What makes Harden’s stepback an absolute nightmare to defend is players know he would make a move, but they are helpless in stopping or countering it nonetheless.
As in the video, Harden fakes where his body would go, fooling the defender into thinking which side he would go to and then doing the exact opposite. Also, James times his attacks in moments where the defender’s position is compromised based on the position of the legs and body.
Doncic owns the best stepbacks in today’s game. He has done it to win games several times. Like Harden, the defender knows the stepback is his bread and butter, but in the end, it will almost always find the bottom of the net.
Pulling a stepback against the Los Angeles Clippers involved a lot of things. As you can see on the video, Doncic had to be aware of the shot clock, have the presence of mind to switch to a small defender he could attack, and have the confidence in pulling a stepback in clutch moments.
Like Harden, Luka is deceptively quick. He could blow by defenders who stick to him, and he plays at his own pace. A lot of experts claim that Harden and Doncic’s games are very similar to each other. The stepback move is one of the things that both players like to do and have the most success with.