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Basketball Fundamental Play - Scissors Cut

Jun 21, 2008
The scissors cut play, also known as 1st cutter or 2nd cutter, is a somewhat complex move that involves multiple players working together to get into good position under the basket. It is a type of diversion move that works very well in a variety of situations.

This move has some challenges, so players should practice the move to perfect it. This is especially true for the pivot player, who has a lot of responsibility during this play. All players should be well acquainted with this play so that it can be used to its best potential during game play.

Basics of the Scissors Cut

The scissors cut involves three players. Two of the players are cutters and one is the pivot. The move works with a center player and then two players cutting in front of him to produce a screen.

Tips for the Scissors Cut

The pivot player is the central player of the move. He is thrown the ball at a position just outside the outer half of the free throw circle. The pivot should catch the ball in the air. It is critical to the move so that the pivot lands with both feet at the same time. His feet should be spread apart evenly from his body so that he could pivot either right or left to shoot the ball. His back should be to the basket.

The pivot's important role during the play, besides shooting the basket, is to protect the ball. This is best done with a tight hold that has both elbows out to fend off opposing players.

Once the pivot catches the ball the cutters get moving. The first cutter moves across in front of the pivot in the opposite direction from which he is coming. Then, the second cutter does the same move from his side of the pivot. The screen is created and the pivot can turn and shoot.

The cutters must cut close to the pivot to allow for a good screen that will leave the pivot open.

This move is a real team effort. The cutters can not hold off every other player on the court, so guards still need to be working. The cutters can not let their guard down once they make their move. They have to stay focused and carry out the play by defending the pivot once they cut past him. Everyone on the court should be focused on the pivot and making sure he has an open line to the basket.

If something goes wrong, one of the cutters needs to move to position so the pivot can pass the ball and the cutter can then try to make the shot. Versatility is important during all plays.

Part of the importance of fundamental plays is that they are something players will see over and over even when they change leagues and coaches. These plays should be taught to beginners so they can get them mastered for later game play. A good player will work hard to learn fundamental plays like the scissor cut so they can use those skills later on in their basketball career.
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