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Post Up Basketball: The Ultimate Guide for Dominating the Paint

Post Up Basketball: The Ultimate Guide for Dominating the Paint

Basketball is a sport of finesse, speed, and strategy. One of the foundational maneuvers in the game that combines all these elements is the post-up play. Designed for big men but utilized by players of all sizes, mastering the post-up can give any player a significant advantage. Let’s explore this classic basketball move.


  1. What is a Post Up?
  2. Historical Significance of the Post Up
  3. Techniques and Strategies
  4. Famous Players and Their Signature Moves
  5. Post Up in Modern Basketball

1. What is a Post Up?

A post-up in basketball refers to an offensive player receiving the ball with their back to the basket, usually in the low post area. This position allows the player to evaluate the defense, make a move to score, or pass the ball to an open teammate.

2. Historical Significance of the Post Up

Historically, centers and power forwards have been the primary players to use post-up plays due to their size advantage. In the ’80s and ’90s, post play was the cornerstone of many teams’ offenses.

Table 1: Evolution of the Post Up

EraKey Development
1960sEmphasis on size and strength in the paint
1980sSkillful footwork and finesse become essential
2000sPerimeter players begin to incorporate post moves

3. Techniques and Strategies

The effectiveness of a post-up play depends on a combination of footwork, positioning, and decision-making.

  • Footwork: Pivots, drop steps, and up-and-under moves can help create space.
  • Positioning: Securing a spot close to the basket can make scoring easier.
  • Decision-making: Recognizing double-teams and finding open teammates is crucial.

4. Famous Players and Their Signature Moves

Several players have become legends due, in part, to their post-up prowess.

“You can’t stop great offense. In the post, it’s about reading the defense and making them pay.”
– Hakeem Olajuwon

Table 2: Players and Their Signature Post Moves

PlayerSignature Move
Kareem Abdul-JabbarSkyhook
Hakeem OlajuwonDream Shake
Shaquille O’NealPower Dunk

5. Post Up in Modern Basketball

With the recent emphasis on pace and space in basketball, traditional post-up plays have seen a decline. However, versatile players like Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid are reviving the art, blending old-school post techniques with modern perimeter skills.

FAQs: Post Up Basketball

Q: What is the primary purpose of a post-up play?
A: The main objective of a post-up play is to create a scoring opportunity, either for the player posting up or a teammate.

Q: Are post-up plays only for tall players or centers?
A: Traditionally, post-up plays were more common for centers and power forwards. However, in modern basketball, players of all sizes and positions utilize post-up plays, especially if they have a mismatch.

Q: Why has the post-up play seen a decline in recent NBA seasons?
A: The evolution of the NBA to a more perimeter-oriented game, emphasizing 3-point shooting and pace, has reduced traditional post-up frequency. However, it’s still an essential tool for many teams, especially in crucial situations.

Q: Which NBA player is known for the “Dream Shake”?
A: Hakeem Olajuwon, a former NBA player, is famous for his “Dream Shake” move, a series of fakes and spin moves in the post.

Q: How can a player improve their post-up skills?
A: Practicing footwork, understanding defensive reads, and strengthening core muscles are essential aspects of enhancing post-up abilities.

Q: What role does positioning play in a successful post-up?
A: Securing a good position, preferably close to the basket, is crucial. It can make it easier to score and gives the player more options, whether shooting or passing.

Q: Can guards benefit from post-up plays?
A: Absolutely. Guards can take advantage of mismatches, especially when defended by a smaller or less agile player. Greats like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant often utilized post-up plays during their careers.

In Conclusion

The post-up remains a vital aspect of basketball, offering a mix of strategy, skill, and strength. While its usage has evolved over time, its essence remains a test of a player’s ability to dominate in the paint.

-By Scott Jones

Additional source from Wikipedia