Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant has become adept at executing the "rip" move, and it has left some defenders feeling ripped off.
An offensive player utilizes the move when he is closely guarded by a defender who has his arms or hands extended in front. The offensive player "rips" the ball quickly to the left or right, trying to get his hands or arms entangled with the defender's and drawing a foul while in a shooting motion.
The sequence often looks clumsy when the offensive player is fouled (or acts as such). If a player is fouled and able to get the shot off, the number of free throws depends on whether or not the shot is made. When no foul is called, the ball flutters harmlessly out of the shooter's hands and usually results in a turnover, or the shot is a brick.
It's a risky move that can be hard to sell to game officials. There is pressure on the shooter to get the shot off and/or draw a foul; pressure on the defender to not foul or not get caught; and pressure on the referee to make the proper call.
Durant exploded for 44 points on Christmas against Denver, with a handful of points coming compliments of the rip. Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin, who was whistled for a rip foul while guarding Durant, said the move should be banned.
Martin was not disrespecting Durant, the referees, nor anyone who uses the rip move -- which happens to include teammate Chauncey Billups, who was stationed in the neighboring locker while Martin spoke inside Oklahoma City Arena.
"Personally, I think they should take it out of basketball, but since Chauncey does it a lot, I'll be a little biased," Martin said, smiling. "I don't think that's playing basketball, but it's part of the game. You've got to abide by it and you've got to know who you're playing.
"I think (Durant) does an excellent job, no matter where your hand is. He's so long. No matter if you have your hand back or not, he finds a way to do it."
Durant responded: "That's not my call. They give it to me. I really never thought about it like that. When a guy does it on me, I don't think it's a good basketball play. But when I do it, it is. But like I said, it's not my call. Once they take it out the game, that's when I'll stop doing it."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he can't imagine the rip move being banned.
"It's a foul," Brooks said. "What are you going to do, outlaw all fouls? Just play playground basketball? A foul is a foul, any way you look at it. A lot of teams do that with Kevin because they want to use some strength against him, crowd him, get in his face. But if it's a foul, you have to call it."
Stu Jackson is the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations and said the rip move was discussed by league officials last offseason.
The discussion was not whether to ban the move, but rather to review officiating parameters when the rip move is used. Jackson essentially agreed with Brooks.
"He (the defender) is not entitled to stick out his leg, or his arm, at an offensive player while that player is in a shooting motion," Jackson said. "That has always been, and will continue to be, a foul."
Many agree the rip move originated with Utah power forward Karl Malone, who despite being 6-9 and 250 pounds had an array of offensive moves while facing the basket, including the pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop and the rip move.
Ironically, San Antonio power forward Tim Duncan picked up the offensive rip move to counter Malone's "strip down" tactic on defense in which he swatted down hard at the ball.
Former Oklahoma State standout and Thunder teammate Desmond Mason taught Durant the rip move three years ago. "Desmond warned me that guys were going to get up into me on defense," Durant said. "I saw him do it a few times and I kind of stole it from him. He's a great teacher."
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha has defended the league's elite players, including rip artist Kobe Bryant.
Sefolosha said he considered the rip a good move, but only when it actually draws a foul. "It's a good move because they call a foul," Sefolosha said, "but I'm not sure it's the right call, actually."
Because the rip move is more prevalent on the perimeter, Thunder power forward Nick Collison hasn't frequently been victimized.
"I hate it when they do it to me," Collison said. "I understand where it's frustrating (to Martin) because it doesn't seem like a natural play. I should love it because Kevin gets the call more than anybody gets it called on us. When it happens to you, it drives you crazy."
The rip move is not in the repertoire of all shooters because few are guarded as aggressively as Durant.
"It's not used often because if you don't get the foul, you take a bad shot," Brooks said. "There have been times Kevin has taken that bad shot. When the defense guards you so close, that's one way to get some space."
There is an art to drawing a foul when an offensive player uses the rip move. Is there an art to successfully defending the rip?
"Just being quick," Sefolosha said. "Sometimes I'm quick enough to get my hands