If you are a basketball fan, you probably hear a lot about "easy baskets" and how important they are. Well, there is nothing easy about getting easy baskets. It takes hard work and a dedication to doing difficult things well to get them. We would be well-served to change the basketball lexicon to reflect that "easy baskets" are really "tough baskets" because the players who are responsible for easy baskets are the toughest of players.
Easy baskets are often 1-foot shots, high-percentage layups or dunks. Like a quarterback sneak from the goal line, the finish may be relatively easy, but getting there is really hard. Easy baskets come in the form of running the court in transition, offensive rebounding, alertness/activity on defense for deflections or steals, and moving without the ball for open shots. Here are some of the very best in the country at doing the hard work to get "easy" baskets, along with some fascinating statistics provided by ESPN's Stats & Information department:
Running the Floor -- Tyler Zeller, North Carolina: Lost amid the discussion of his poor play in the final minutes of Wednesday's loss to Duke is the fact that he was the Tar Heels' best player for much of the game.
There is not a more relentless player than Zeller in terms of running the floor in transition. He puts an enormous amount of pressure on the opponent's big men and their overall transition defense by running, no, sprinting the court. Whether it is after a made basket, a rebound or a turnover, Zeller gets a great jump and runs in a straight line to the rim, always keeping his vision on the ball for a pass ahead. He has outrun superathletic big men consistently because he runs on every single play, and he does it every single game.
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