You have probably already seen Derrick Rose's wondrous dunk against the Knicks from last night. If you're like me, though, you'd like to see it again and again, though, and we're nothing if not service-oriented here at TrueHoop. So, enjoy.
There's one little thing to notice, though: see how his entire body is shaped like a "C" as he flies through the air, before unwinding into the full power of the jam? Something about that bothered me, and reminded me of when I was in Florida Training Like a Pro with David Thorpe.
Thorpe told us then that, when attacking the rim, he preferred us to go straight up and down, in part to get to the rim faster, but also for balance and to minimize injury.
He explains that a lot of dunkers jump from so far away that they are on their way down by the time they get to the rim, which makes it easier to block. Also, the whole time you're in the air, it's fairly easy to know where you're headed.
I finally realized what bothered me about Rose's position in the air. It made me worry, just a little for his safety. Watch again: those legs are curled way behind him. This matters. When attacking the rim, you have to expect contact (wouldn't be the first time -- thanks Jason). If your legs are essentially underneath you, you have some margin for error to still stick the landing. However, if your legs are behind you, then a bump can leave them even further behind you, which could strand you airborne, without a good landing plan, not unlike the stars of all those "trampoline accident" videos. Rose was a Danilo Gallinari nudge to the legs from one very rough landing.
"It's easy to catch a knee on someone, so I don't love legs curled behind you," says Thorpe. "But it happens."