One of the most important things defenders are taught is how to close out and to stay on the balls of their feet. The reason this is so important is that offensive players know hot to destroy a player who’s closeout is suspect.
Many times, you will see defenders shading towards the weak hand because they don’t believe offensive players are skilled or athletic enough to attack that way. When the defender shades one way, sweep back and attack that way to force them to cut you off. If you attack the basket with purpose, the defender should have no chance to stop you from getting to the rim without fouling. If they are able to cut you off, the side step, euro step or spin move is a great way to slice across the defender for the finish.
Another way to take advantage of your defender is to attack their top foot. When a defender is shading one direction that doesn’t mean you have to go that way. Attacking the top foot gives you an opportunity to turn the corner on your defender and forces them to step back before they can slide into position. A rip through is a great way to blow by your defender for a layup and it keeps the defender off balance for a pull-up jumper. Being able to read the little things in our defender’s stance and understanding your own strengths creates more scoring opportunities.