Faking on defense is something rarely done except by good players. Most players are merely hoping to get by on defense; they aren’t re- ally trying to create anything. A player who does fake on defense stands out as a good player. As with offensive faking, how the good player fakes on defense is not as important a consideration as does he fake on defense. Look at some of the situations where faking on defense will be helpful.
When your man has the ball, fake at him to try to get him to commit himself too soon. For example, you may fake with your hands to give him the feeling that you are too close, too worried about his outside shot. Then when he drives for the basket, you are prepared since you know you are purposely acting overaggressively. In the same way, you might fake to one side to encourage him to go in the other direction. You give the impression that you are overplaying one side, while knowing that you are trying to get him to go to the other.
When you are not guarding the ball but are on the ball side of the court, many times you can fake at the dribbler as though you are about to double-team, even though you know you are planning to stay with your man. By doing this, you may get a dribbler to pick up the ball or discourage him from trying to penetrate to your side.
When you are playing a zone defense, often you can pretend that you are about to dart out to intercept a perimeter pass, even though you know you are going to stay inside and prevent a pass to the middle. With this movement, you may get a player to throw a pass right into the area you are concentrating on (since he thinks you are about to leave it). At least you may slow down the movement of the ball on the outside and prevent a rapid swing of the ball from one side to the other because the passer has to worry about what you are going to do.
When you are playing a man on the low post, you can give the impression you are about to dart out and intercept a pass into him (by playing on the side of him and lunging out a bit the moment the player with the ball looks in) even though you know that your primary concern may be to stay between your man and the basket.
On the jump circle, it is often possible to discourage the jumper from tapping to a certain man (even a bigger, stronger player who could certainly get the ball from you). Stand there looking aggressive as though you are about to jump in front of him the moment the ball is tapped.
There are times in a full-court press when a back man can “play possum” and pretend he is not ready to cover someone, thereby encouraging a pass to be thrown that he is prepared to intercept. All of these situations, and there are many more, require thinking and effort— probably the two primary requisites of good defense.
Ask yourself about your defense. Are you conscious of faking often in a variety of situations? If you aren’t, don’t fool yourself—you don’t play well. If you do, then you are very likely a good player, and you should be constantly looking for new situations where fakes can be effective.
How can fakes help in defending a 2-on-1 break? How can fakes help you slow down a fast breaking team’s quick outlet passes? You should be able to find ways to fake in almost every defensive situation.
From Dick’s book “Stuff”