What is "Walking the dog" in NBA and how did Ja Morant use it for benefit?

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers
Ja Morant made "Walking the dog" in NBA famous this season

"Walking the dog" has been in the NBA for some time, but Ja Morant recently found a new way to utilize it. The Memphis Grizzlies star put defenders in a situation where they have to make a tough decision.

In the past, players used "Walking the dog" as a way to save time. Since the clock doesn't start until someone touches the ball late in quarters, guys roll the ball up court. This allows them to advance up the floor without wasting precious time.

That being said, Ja Morant uses this move in a different way. He will have the ball rolled down the floor even when the clock is running. In one instance, he let the ball sit while the clock ticked away during a game against the Charlotte Hornets.


Along with wasting time, there is another reason why Ja Morant has come up with a new way to use an old tactic.

How does Ja Morant use "Walking the dog" to his advantage?

Some might think he isn't doing anything, but Ja Morant has a plan in place. "Walking the dog" in this manner allows him to put the defense at a disadvantage.

Right now, there are few players in the NBA as fast as the Memphis Grizzlies point guard. Knowing they can't keep up with him, opponents will try to give space to prevent Morant from getting downhill to the rim.

As defenses sag off of him, Morant decided to use "Walking the dog" in his favor. When he does this, it forces his defender to move up on him. In the open court, Morant then uses his speed to get by the defender to open up the floor for him and his teammates. In the clip above, Terry Rozier had to stop him from wasting time, and his reward was being met by a Steven Adams screen.

Morant broke out this move earlier in the year to bait Ben Simmons. The Brooklyn Nets forward picked him up at half-court to stop him, and eventually committed a reach-in foul while trying to poke at the ball.

Ja Morant baited Ben Simmons into fouling out 🧠

At this point in his career, Morant is still not much of a threat from beyond the arc. Opponents know this and do whatever they can to leave him on the perimeter.

Until his shot is respected enough for defenses to move up, Morant needs to try outside-the-box methods like this in an effort to create space to attack.

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Edited by Rajdeep Barman
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