Lay Ups - 5 Pro Finishing Moves for Guards

If you are a guard, the importance of being crafty with your finishing moves (lay ups) increases as the competition level increases. Opportunities for straight-line lay ups with the perfect driving angle rarely occur during games. And as the competition level increases, you'll find the same stuff that used to work, now gets swatted out of the lane.

If you don't believe me, watch Derrick Rose. This is a guy who has a 40some inch vertical jump, the speed and quickness of a cheetah, and is 6'3, 200 lbs and he still uses a floater to get his shots off in the lane area. We're talking about one of the best athletes in the world here.

Now, let's take a look at 5 finishing moves that you could work on:

  1. Derrick Rose Floater

    A floater is a push-like shot used to float the ball over the outreached hands of the defenders in the lane. The really good floaters will look like the player stops and shoots almost all in one motion. The quicker and more unpredictable you are with this shot, the more deadly you can be. You can do this off one foot or two feet.

    You'll see a couple of Derrick Rose floaters in this video at 0:15 and 0:25.

  2. Rondo

    This is a move that Rajon Rondo uses quite often and effectively. I first saw this move used by the legendary Hakeem Olajuwon. The same Hakeem Olajuwon that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have worked with the last few summers.

    The player performs a 1-2 stop, then front pivots and shoots the ball.

  3. Ginobli Euro Step or Side Step

    This is a great finishing move popularized by Manu Ginobli. The euro step is used when the defender takes away the offensive player's driving lane, so the offensive player uses a side step to get around the defender.

    The video below shows the move as Manu moves in for the layup.

  4. Steve Nash No-Jump Lay Up

    As you face better competition, the athletes get better. Well, Steve Nash realizes he's not going to out-jump the defenders to the goal, so he out-quicks the defenders to the goal.

    So how does Nash do this? He does not jump. This works because he can get the ball up before his defender can recover and before helpside defense can rotate over to block the shot. Also, shot-blockers are accustomed to NBA guards trying to jump up towards the goal before shooting. That is why Steve Nash's no-jump lay up throws off the shot-blocker's timing as well.

  5. Steve Nash Same-Leg Lay Up

    From a young age, we've been taught to shoot right-handed lay ups by jumping off our left leg and vice-versa. For a beginner this is fine, but when you need to take an extra step to get your footing down against better competition, the defense will more likely stop you. So as players advance, I believe it's important to finish from either side jumping off of either leg and finishing with either hand. That means if you're on the right side of the basket and need to jump off of your right leg and finish with your right hand, DO IT.

    Steve Nash does a great job of combining the "No-Jump Lay Up" and the "Same-Leg Lay Up" in the video below.

Incorporate a few of these moves into your workouts and you'll turn into a better finisher around the basket.

Related Pages and Helpful Resources:

30 Competitive Game-Like Skill Building Drills
Improve Your Ability To Finish At The Rim With The Corner Finishing Drill
How To Make Basic Lay Ups and Finish At The Goal
Competitive Finishing Basketball Drill Versus Weakside Help
5 Best Downhill Basketball Moves

What are your thoughts on this? Please add your comments below.


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Logan Underwood says:
7/20/2016 at 11:57:57 PM

I am a 15 year old guard going into my sophomore, who saw very little playing time last year till the very end of the year being a freshmen and the seniors getting first pick in a small town... I'm wondering how can I improve my passing and my decision making skills, like when to fake and when not to fake, because when I don't fake they swat me, and then when I fake they somehow don't jump and then swat me on the actual shot. My problem isn't really getting to the rim it's finishing when I get there without getting swatted or the ball stolen. Also as a three point shooter, I have a slower shot release, is there a way I can somehow work on getting it off faster and still making a high percentage of shots. Do I just need to practice on a quicker release in the gym everyday? Any help or tips on really anything basketball related would really help, thank you guys!

  1 reply  

Lee Johnson says:
4/18/2017 at 7:09:06 AM

You need to improve your handles so they sag off and create more space for you to shoot


Tushant says:
12/20/2015 at 1:12:13 AM

Do you have to add a backspin to the ball when you're doing a floater?

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
12/31/2015 at 4:50:02 PM

I'll be honest. I have never paid attention to that. If you can shoot a floater at a high percentage, I don't think it matters if it has back spin or not. My guess is you do want backspin but that's not something I have studied or paid attention to. It may not matter.


Fernando says:
10/10/2014 at 2:48:08 AM

Just practice practice and practice some more and more...


melrod junio says:
5/6/2014 at 11:51:56 AM

thanks a lot guys I learned a lot from you I am just 14yrs old but I am a good pointgaurd as well but I can be an all arounder player just a little practice thanks guys


Danny says:
9/9/2012 at 1:25:00 AM

@Tomyy zzJ
One of the best ways to beat bigger players is get them moving and then force them to change direction. Very few big players can do this as well as someone a few inches shorter.


Larryk says:
1/29/2012 at 1:52:27 PM

One thing to focus on when shooting the floater is to go straight up vs moving towards the basket. This helps in two ways, moving toward the goal is a very difficult shot and second going straight up helps you get more loft on the floater. Going straight up once beating a defender to the lane instead of moving forward turned a lot of back rim clanks into swishes for my son.


tourny says:
8/30/2011 at 4:20:45 PM

For all you young players:
The only way to become consistent with these moves is to do them over and over and over again.
There is no magic involved.
Get your basketball and get to a hoop (by yourself) and spend hours each day practicing.
Shoot 1000 shots every day.


Coach Chad Hunt says:
4/27/2011 at 11:41:58 AM

The pro hop or side hop is a great finishing move as well. You'll see lebron do it a lot. You do a hop to split defenses or jump to the side of defenses then finish off of two feet.

  1 reply  

chevy white says:
12/2/2019 at 12:49:01 PM

Yes, the pro hop step is the best move for finishing. I am a point guard for Blue mountain Mississippi's junior high and varsity and every time I finish with a pro hop step it works!


MikeL says:
4/27/2011 at 11:10:36 AM

Great article!
Our 7th grade boys practiced the "same leg layup" last year and found it to be perplexing but fun. Do it every workout in the regular layin drills. It's such a bigtime move in the open court, because otherwise, you might have to stutter-step to get the inside foot in place -- then defenders gain a half-second to catch up and block the layin.


Play_some_D says:
4/27/2011 at 9:11:29 AM

These pro tips are perfect and require a great deal of practice to be comfortable using during a game time situation.

There are several things that a small can do against taller opponents. Quickness being your biggest asset, allows you to get around a big man. A fade-away jump shot and the most important thing a small can work on is eliminating the fear of the big man.


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