Yanders Law

Big season ahead for Deonte Burton

Yanders Law alum, Deonte Burton has a great shot at making even more of a splash this year in the NBA.

If Yanders Law posted and retweeted every big highlight from Deonte Burton’s NBA Summer Leage, G-League, or NBA moments, this would really just become a dedicated fan page. The man can jump, but we know he has the whole package required to crack the rotation for what is likely now a rebuilding OKC Thunder squad.

Burton signed a two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the season last year because the organization recognized that they needed him available for their playoff push. Now, they have the opportunity to put Deonte on the court at will, and there is no reason they shouldn’t.

The Yanders Law vet is well-known for his ridiculous bounce and eye-popping dunks (we admit, we love that too), but there is so much more to being an NBA player,including intangibles that we know Deonte possesses.

Over time, he has become an incredibly hard worker, likely do to outside motivators such as his family that push him to be the kind of player that competes at the highest level. He has the timing and quick-jump ability needed to block shots, which is tough to teach. His defense overall will only continue to improve as he continues to matchup with elite talent. His outside shot is underrated as well.

Deonte Burton said before in an interview with Wil Harrington of The Basketball Movement that his time with Rob Yanders and Yanders Law helped him greatly with the mental side of the game.

That part of the game is really big. I’m physically gifted, but so are other people at this level. Discipline and hard work separates everyone.
— Deonte Burton

With the offseason departure of Paul George, the OKC Thunder are now sitting on a bunch of draft picks, looking to overhaul the roster to build towards the future. Whether it is now or even as late as December or so, they will likely even part ways with franchise cornerstone, Russell Westbrook.

Now without George or Jerami Grant to guard multiple positions, Oklahoma City will need some versatile players to fill the void. Perhaps some promising young talent that just needs minutes to show what he can do…

The future of the OKC Thunder organization is difficult to predict short or long-term. However, there certainly appears to be an opportunity for our guy Deonte Burton to get the minutes he needs to show the world what he can really do.

Hopefully that’s how things will shake out this year for our successful former player. We will be in his corner rooting for him the whole way as always, come what may. Good luck this season, Deonte and keep ripping Summer League to shreds!

Player profiles: Centers

We wrap up our player profiles series with the players that put the five in starting five - the center.

Whether your team has a true center or not, someone in the starting five is technically playing the "five spot". The whole team cannot hang out on the perimeter, so it falls to the center by default to set up shop in the paint.

Like the other positions that we have discussed, there is no specific way to approach playing the center position. The traditional thought is that the center of a team is its leading rebounder and best rim-protector. Most centers in today's game can do more than just swat shots and grab boards, but there are still plenty of prominent examples of traditional players that we will go over.

The best centers are often still great rebounders, but scorers as well. We will breakdown "all-around" centers below that can do a bit of everything on the court.

We will be going over former and current NBA centers, but it is worth noting that there are some great centers to watch today in the WNBA as well. Candace Parker and Brittney Griner come to mind with former player Lisa Leslie being another great one to watch.

Traditional centers to watch

For all the talk about traditional centers going away in the age of the three-point shot, there are still plenty of examples of excellent traditional centers in the game. There are three high-caliber examples that quickly come to mind: DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert, and Andre Drummond.

Jordan is a tenacious defender and rebounder. His poor free throw shooting is offset by the way he uses his length on both ends of the floor to make an impact. Drummond is the player to watch if you need a free clinic on rebounding the basketball. Rudy Gobert may be the best interior defender in the world. Watch the Frenchman Gobert to learn how to use defensive length and footwork to protect the strong and weak side of the paint.

A few more current examples of traditional centers in the NBA are Steven Adams, Clint Capela, Dwight Howard, and Hassan Whiteside who all make their impact with defense, rebounding, and hustle.

Known for his defense and teamwork more than his scoring, Bill Russell may be the top traditional center in history. Film on Russell may be scarce, but his 11 championships and winning ways speak loudly for his style of play.

All-around centers

By now you may have noticed a trend with these player profiles. You can have plenty of success as a player that focuses on specific skills, especially at lower levels of the game. More often than not though, it is the players that can do a bit of everything on the floor that are often the best at their position.

Even players like Shaquille O'neal, that has every appearance of a traditional center is more well-rounded than he may get credit for. Despite his massive size, Shaq could run the floor, pass, and make shots from mid-range-in with surprising finesse. Another Lakers great, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is arguably the best all-around center for his defense, rebounding, and peerless scoring ability.

The list of former all-around centers is pretty long and impressive, including names like Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, David Robinson, and Patrick Ewing.

A few current well-rounded centers that are quickly ascending are Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Jokic is a great center to watch for passing out of the post while Embiid is great to watch for his post moves and shot-blocking. An underrated, but well-rounded center to watch today is Al Horford.

Two more of the best all-around centers in the game, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMarcus Cousins are certainly great players to study up on for improving centers. Just don't emulate Cousins' technical count.

That does it for our player profiles! Take note of these players to watch as great examples at their positions. Stay locked into Yanders Law as we continue to give you player tips!

Player profiles: Power forwards

An ever-evolving position, being a power forward today can mean a lot more than it did 10 or 20 years ago.

The name "power forward" comes from players at the four position being bruisers in the paint. Where the center position has balanced size and skill for many years, the PF spot traditionally meant a foul-prone post player that cleared out opposing players to hog rebounds and create driving lanes for others.

Today, that is no longer the case.

Players at the four spot can have a variety of skillsets and roles on a team. Today, stretch-fours that can shoot are as common if not more common than traditional post players.

You can be a stretch four or still carve out a role as a traditional, rebounding post player. Below we break out some current and former players at the highest level of the game for you to watch if you want to strive for either role.

Stretch-fours to watch

The concept of the stretch-four is not entirely new. Since at least the 90's there have been plenty of post players venturing out beyond the three point line. Many of them come from overseas as that has long been a staple of the European game. Likely the best power forward to do it is no exception.

Recently retired, Germany's Dirk Nowitzki is a stellar example of stretch-four. His use of his seven-foot frame allows him to shoot over the top of the defense from any distance. Though he is a fan of the three point shot, back-to-the-basket scoring ability has made him one of the most versatile scoring threats in basketball.

One of Springfield, MO’s personal favorites, Anthony Tolliver of the Minnesota Timberwolves is another excellent stretch-four example. The Kickapoo High grad has coupled his height with a shooting touch that has helped him on his way to a long and successful NBA career.

Kevin Love is a good example of a player that was rebounding and interior focused, but adjusted his game to expand his range. Playing alongside rim-attacker LeBron James meant more perimeter time for PF Love. He was hurt last season, but it will be interesting to see how his game shapes up next season with LBJ still in Los Angeles and the Cavs made up of young guns.

Traditional power forwards

Many of the best examples of traditional power forwards have since retired from the professional game. Debateably the top PF to have played was Tim Duncan. "The Big Fundamental" could extend his range if the moment called for it, but he stayed within himself and did most of his damage with hookshots, offensive put-backs, and short-range barrages. His shot blocking and excellent footwork make him one of the most well-rounded players that you could study today.

Duncan's "replacement" in San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge is a solid scoring PF to watch as well. He has gradually expanded his range, but his knack for timely rebounding and interior scoring make him a bit of a throwback big. For a more defensive-minded traditional four, check some footage of Kevin Garnett. A capable scorer, KG made his biggest impact by being a ferocious defender.

Some imposing physical power forwards to watch in today's game are : Derrick Favors, Blake Griffin, and Taj Gibson. Some throwback guys are Charles Oakley and the ultimate rebounding power forward, Dennis Rodman.

Keep in mind as you strive to become or improve upon being a power forward, that shooting is becoming more and more important. The way the game is played today requires almost all players on the floor to shoot unless you have a center that can hold down the paint on his own (Dwight Howard in Orlando, Clint Capela in Houston, Deandre Jordan in New York).

You can still be a strong, rebounding-focused four, but do not neglect the softer skills of the game such as shooting and passing out of the post. Remember to get with your coach or mentor to discuss your best fit!

Player profiles: Small forwards

Not too big, but not actually small, the small forward is the in-between guy or gal on a basketball squad.

The term small-forward is a bit of an oxymoron, at least at the highest levels of the game. To be a forward, you would naturally be a larger or more stout player. Depending on the lineup of your team, the small forward can be expected to play on the perimeter or occassionally down in the post depending on the flow of the game.

Often a "jack-of-all-trades" for a team, the role of a small forward is varied. Some may be scorers, others may be defenders, and many times they are asked to do a bit of everything.

With versatility being the name of the game, it is best for current or prospective small forwards to do their best to balance their entire game. If the two guards are locked down by a full-court press, it falls to the small forward to become the ball handler. If the two post player get locked up double-teaming in the post, it becomes the small forwards job to get in the paint to protect the weak side.

Most examples of small forwards to watch at the highest level of the game can do a bit of everything on the floor. We will still break it up a bit by scorers, defensive-minded, and Swiss Army Knife type players.

Scoring small forwards

In looking at starting small forwards in today's NBA, it is unusual to find many scorers that don't also make a substantial impact on the defensive end. Even Kevin Durant, who is perennially one of the top scorers in the world, stepped up his defense over the last couple of seasons, using his length to become a formidable shot-blocker. Still, he is a great one to watch for his ability to score in the post on out to the three point stripe.

Though he is currently without a team and starting to show signs of aging, Carmelo Anthony is a true example of a scoring small forward. His footwork, fadeaways, and nose for driving lanes make him a good example to emulate on the offensive end.

A few more examples are: Demar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Tobias Harris, and Brandon Ingram. A former pure-scoring SF was Larry Bird. Larry Legend could do a bit of everything on the floor as well from passing to guarding multiple positions. However, post play and early adaptation of perimeter shooting made him a nightmare to guard at the small forward position. A few more are Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and Julius Erving.

Defensive-minded small forwards

Historically, Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs is one of the first defensive-minded small forwards that come to mind. Often pushing the limits with what he got away with, Bowen is still an excellent example of a defender at the small forward position - able to guard perimeter and post players alike. Really there are multiple players to examine from not that long ago; Scottie Pippin, Shawn Marion, and Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) are all standouts.

Also defensive-minded, but a bit more offensively capable than Bowen, current NBA player and former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is a tremendous example to watch today. Iguodala did some scoring and distributing for his former teams, but coming off the bench for the Warriors, he is allowed to focus on his specialty; defense. His defense on LeBron James and timely three point shooting is what landed him 2014-15 Finals MVP honors.

A few other examples of current small forwards are Jaylen Brown and Otto Porter Jr. Both of these players have carved out defensive roles on their teams, but are constantly working to enhance their scoring ability as well. P.J. Tucker is an example of a more pure defender.

One takeaway from defensive-minded small forwards is the players that established themselves as defense-first stars and then blossomed their offense later. Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo both broke into the league with defense, but are now well-rounded superstars.

Swiss Army knife small forwards

The best small forwards are often the ones that can do it all. The ultimate do it all SF past or present has to be LeBron James.

LeBron entered the league already having great size and speed, allowing him to defend multiple positions. His ball-handling and scoring ability put him on par with any guard on the court. He developed a shooting touch as well, rounding him out as one of if not the best all-around players in the history of the game.

We have already touched on Durant, Antetokounmpo, and Leonard who are a few of the best all-around small forwards. Another Swiss Army knife SF that needs to be mentioned is Paul George.

Considered to be one of the best two-way players in the game, PG-13 is one of the top small forwards to watch on both ends of the floor. On defense, he knows when to have active hands vs. when to just use his body and size. On offense, he uses his whole repitoire to score when the defense forces him either out of the paint or off of the three point line.

Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics is another example of a good two-way SF, with former Celtic Paul Peirce being a prime example as well. Pierce was known for his scoring, but his underrated defense was fueled by his competitive fire. Some good examples from a little further back would be Chris Mullen and Dominique Wilkins.

If you need some small forwards to watch and mold your game after, the above players should provide you with a great starting point!

Who should you model your game after?

NBA, WNBA, and NCAA players both past and present give players plenty of templates to base their games after.

Naturally, each individual player needs to be just that: their own individual player. No one else has the exact same qualities and characteristics that you possess. There are so many aspects of basketball; shooting skill, ball handling, leadership, internal motor, and more add up to make a player.

Still, when it comes to the sport, there are still qualities and playstyles that you may want to emulate. Just because you are typically defense-oriented doesn’t mean that you cannot learn a thing or two by studying Carmelo Anthony’s turnaround jumper in the paint.

Positions in basketball are becoming more fluid, meaning that size does not necessarily dictate where you will be playing. For example, in the NBA, Ben Simmons plays point guard at 6 foot 10, where Draymond Green plays power forward at 6 foot 7.

So study who you want to, but just make sure that you are staying within yourself. Before you start chucking threes like Steph Curry or Damian Lillard, make sure that you have all of the basics down and then some. Before you start banging in the paint like Anthony Davis or Brittney Griner, you may need to hit the weight room.

A while back, The Basketball Movement highlighted some top players at each position to model your game after. Again, positions can be fluid, but it could still serve as a nice starting point for players to watch and model parts of your game after.

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing these player profiles with you, starting with point guards. Make sure you are following us on social media so that you can be the first to receive these tips and more from your friends at Yanders Law!

Keeping your head in the game

Knowing and understanding various situations in the game of basketball can be the difference between winning and losing.

There is a lot that goes into understanding the sport of basketball. There is more to it than putting the ball in the hoop. Coaching and experience are two very important pieces involved in this understanding.

Yanders Law coaches will take you far. For individual help, The Basketball Movement can help to further a player's knowledge about many aspects of the sport. The nuances of ball-handling, shooting, and how to conduct yourself are a few examples.

Game-time situations come at you fast. Sometimes it is in those instances that you learn the most, whether you get it right or especially if you get it wrong.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
— Michael Jordan

Even the most experienced can still falter

For all of your coaching, practice, and game-experience, you will still make mistakes. Overplaying passing lanes, trying too hard to thread a pass into the post, the list of possibilities is very long.

A player must keep track of what they can control. Always being aware of the time on the game clock (or shot clock), how many fouls you have, and the score are simple, yet important facets of the game.

Even a grizzled NBA veteran like JR Smith can still make basic mistakes. Don't be a JR Smith.

Keep your head in the game and control as much of what happens as you can. Mistakes will happen; the best players often average the most turnovers.

Don't sweat the small stuff, but also do not assume that you will make the correct decisions at all times. Take deep breaths, analyze as much of each situation as time will allow, and play the game.

To continue taking your game to the next level, keep checking back here or get in touch with the guys over at The Basketball Movement!

Rob Yanders Founder / Owner

A program like Yanders Law is nothing without its fearless leader. Ours is great basketball mind and former pro, Rob Yanders.

About

Rob Yanders, owner and director of The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law, trains some of the best talent in the country. From top high school talent to NBA players, his training methods are sought after by elite players continually striving to get better. As lead director and head of player development, he has worked with multiple top-100 HS players in the country.

Notable names such as Mike Foster, Patrick Baldwin, Harlong Beverly, Charles Smith IV, Jabari Sibley, Emanual Miller, Anton Brookshire, Isaac Lindsey, Nobal Days, Desi Carton, Jalen Thomas, Chris Hodges, Adam Miller, Xzavier Jones, and Desmond Polk are among the players that look to coach Yanders for help in elevating their game.

As someone who has played at every level, his tutelage is an asset to these young men as they proceed with their dream of achieving the highest level of play available to them.

His workouts with NBA players Monte Morris, Deonte Burton, and Alize Johnson have become stories passed around from training camp to training camp, leading to more and more calls from current and prospective pros looking for help as they climb the ladder of success.

He has consulted with multiple NBA teams (including Lakers, Magic, and Pelicans) as they design and implement their own development programs.

Career

Yanders’ basketball career began in Milwaukee at Vincent High School, where he helped lead the Vikings to three State Basketball Championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Yanders went on to play at MSU – West Plains and is their only two time All-American.

Yanders was honored as a member of the 1999 USA National Team that toured New Zealand and was inducted into the MSU – WP Hall of Fame in 2007.

Yanders went on to play at Missouri State University in the Missouri Valley Conference under coach Barry Hinson, earning “All-Conference Honors.” He started every game he played from 2000-2002, averaging 11 points, 5.5 assists, and grabbing an impressive 6 rebounds per game.

He played 12 years as a pro, spending his first seven seasons playing in the BBL. As a pro, he started over 300 games, scoring 4,600 points with over 1,500 assists. He ranked 6th on the all-time BBL list. Yanders was a part of the 2009 Great Britain national team that earned the 2012 Olympic bid. After his first seasons playing abroad, Yanders was invited to the Milwaukee Bucks NBA free-agent camp.

During his time in the UK, Yanders won practically every individual and team honor available in the domestic game. Yanders won three European Championships, two regular season Championships, a National Cup, and Finals MVP. In France, Yanders was also voted team MVP with both VCB and KABCA teams and earned All-Star Team honors in 2012.

The Basketball Movement and Yanders Law

The Basketball Movement is the most explosive basketball training facility in the Midwest. Rob Yanders and his team of skilled trainers have developed a new type of basketball experience for youth on and off the court.

The Basketball Movement offers intense skill development, team training, mentorship, film analysis, motivational speaking, marketing, media coverage, and national exposure. With over four thousand athletes coming through the doors each year, the Basketball Movement has been proven to be the Mecca of basketball training in the Midwest.

Yanders Law was established to use the sport of basketball as a tool to assist young men and women in their athletic, educational, professional, and life skill development; to provide young men and women with a fraternity of brotherhood and sisterhood for life; and to promote good citizenship, discipline, teamwork, and physical health.

Even with such big dreams, Rob has managed to stay grounded and true to himself and his community as well. With free-of-charge clinics and leagues, The Angels of the Hardwood event, and more, he is dedicated to using basketball to better the lives of others.

Using size to your advantage

Basketball players come in many shapes and sizes. Each of these various sizes can be used to a player's advantage.

For a long time, basketball was closed off to only the biggest individuals at its highest levels. Throwing it into the post to let your bruiser back his/her way to the cup was the most effective form of offense. Times have changed.

The game itself has evolved, as has our understanding of what it takes to win. Foul-calling and the three pointer have been a pair of equalizers in addition to the knowledge of what it takes to succeed at smaller sizes.

It still certainly helps to be big, but now more than ever, smaller players have opportunities to compete as well.

Guards can use skill and speed

Perimeter players can be light and/or on the shorter side, while still achieving success. A great shot can go a long way in the sport of basketball. Ball-handling and passing as well. A taller player may be able to get a better view of the floor, but being lower to the ground often means improved ball-handling prowess and bounce pass options.

There are numerous examples of shorter players experiencing great success at all levels of the game. Yanders Law Founder, Rob Yanders played professionally with grit and savvy rather than overpowering opponents with strength and size - though quickness and toughness helped too.

Post players aren't going anywhere

Just because it is easier to be an undersized baller does not mean that post-play is out the door. A surplus of height, or even extra (managed) weight/muscle are always an intimidating factor on the court.

The taller you are, the closer you are to the rim. Offense and defense both become a bit easier with height. The top rim-protectors have always been tall with an above-average wingspan.

Even if you are on the bigger side, but height isn't part of the equation, there are ways to succeed. The bigger you are, the more you will be able to impose your will on smaller players.

Not too big, but not too small?

You can definitely work with this too. Being somewhere in between means that you may be able to matchup with multiple positions.

A well-rounded skill set will help you to use your size on the perimeter or hang with the bigs down low.

For more help on how to take advantage of your size, whatever it may be, talk with you Yanders Law coaches. These individuals are in these positions because they know the game inside and out. Take advantage of this resource and pull out all the stops on the way to maximizing your potential.