Word on the Street

French Pastry (french pa’-stre) noun. An overly elaborate motion or needless flourish added to a standard basketball play.

Usage example: “Bob Cousy was known as ‘The Houdini of the Hardwood’ because of the French pastry he added to his passes.”

Word trivia: Very few players in NBA history have been able to use French pastry effectively. Bob Cousy was the inventor of the French pastry, and Magic Johnson honed it to perfection.

Bob Cousy invented the no-look pass, the original French pastry.

Unfortunately, these men are the exceptions. Most people simply cannot pull the French pastry off, but this doesn’t stop them from trying. The results? Bad passes, turnovers, miscues at the worst possible time (which often causes announcers like Hubie Brown to cry out in disgust, “Too much French pastry!“). Earlier this seson, I saw Chris Webber start to pass the ball to an open man, then pull it back for the sole purpose of making a behind-the-back pass. The ball was almost intercepted, and the recipient of the pass had to loft a shot up to beat the clock with a defender in his face. Needless to say, he got stuffed and Philly essentially wasted the possession. Thanks, Chris!!

The French pastry has resulted in many a wasted possession.

What people fail to realize is that guys like Cousy and Magic, for all their flair and artistry, were always in control of the pass. They didn’t waste possessions just to make a spectacular play. They rarely forced a French pastry, instead using it in the flow of the game when there was little danger of losing the ball. It wasn’t done simply for aesthetic purposes, the success of the play actually depended on it. But today’s NBA is all about style over substance, which is why most people would rather spend five hours doing dribbling while upside down and pulling off-the-wall in NBA Street than running the pick and roll in NBA Live.

Everybody wants to do something fancy, even more than just scoring the ball.

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Labels: Bob Cousy / Magic Johnson / Chris Webber / Hubie Brown / NBA / Word on the Street

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