Word on the Street

Walk the Dog (wok thuh dahg) phrase. The polar opposite of satelliting, where a player – in concert with the inbounder – tries to save as much time as possible in moving the ball downcourt by letting the inbounder roll or bounce the ball into play while they guard the ball without touching it and therefore starting the clock.

Usage example:Rajon Rondo Chris Paul walks the dog more than any other player in the league. Steve Nash Rajon Rondo probably comes in second and Steve Nash is a distant third.”

Word history: The term “walking the dog” as well as (save for a few word changes) the definition shown above was invented by Silent Assassin reader Rhalid Hussein in an email to me quite some time ago. I just didn’t have the proper videographic example. Until now.

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Oddly enough, some players – Rajon Rondo Chris Paul in particular – often use this maneuver at various points through out a game, even when time isn’t a factor. I have no idea why they do it. Walking the dog makes perfect sense in end-of-game situations where every tick of the clock is as precious as a cheerleader covered in chocolate frosting. But doing it, say, midway through the second quarter …is there any benefit? I guess that, in theory, it saves time on the shot clock. But I can’t imagine that it provides much of an advantage over time. Can we get the guys at 82games.com on this?

Update! I received a comment and a few emails from readers who believed that Jack McCallum coined the phrase in his magnum opus :07 Seconds or Less. Which he did …sort of. Only he didn’t create the term; Kevin Tucker, the Phoenix Suns’ director of security, did. And it doesn’t mean quite the same thing. From the book (page 270):

And then there was the Nash number: One shot taken in the second half. But as the coaches review the game film, the explanation for it seems painfully obvious: The Mavericks threw constant double-teams at him, sometimes triple-teams, and Nash almost never had an open perimeter shot or a clean path to drive. On the rare occasions when a big man had to defend Nash alone (last night it was usually DeSagana Diop), that defender did a good job and discouraged Nash from even attempting to break him down, or, as Kevin Tucker always shouts from the bench when Nash is isolated on a big, “walking the dog.”

So, no, we did not steal this Word on the Street from Mr. McCallum. And for the record, McCallum’s Unfinished Business is much, much better than :07 Seconds or Less. In point of fact, that book is THE reason I started writing about sports back in the day, which led to a 10,000-word story on my high school girl’s basketball team that took up half of one issue of the school paper …and earned me a hairy eyeball from my advisor (who probably regretted giving me the freedom to do that piece). The story was, however, nominated for some award that I didn’t win. I’d probably remember what the award was if I’d won it. But whatever.

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Labels: Rajon Rondo / Chris Paul / Steve Nash / DeSagana Diop / Dallas Mavericks / Phoenix Suns / Word on the Street

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