What Does Clamps Mean In Basketball? (Term + Tips)

Have you seen a comment online about how a basketball player clamped someone?

What exactly does the term “clamps” mean?

Clamps is a basketball slang that refers to an incredibly tough defensive effort that doesn’t even let an opponent score. It’s popularity today is thanks to the video game NBA2K where the term is used as one of the badges.

So, if you’re curious to know the whole story about this term and how you can improve your defense, read on.

What Does Clamps Mean in Basketball?

A lot of basket slangs are used today by players, fans and even broadcasters at times. Terms such as “And One”, “Buzzer Beater”, and “Automatic” are known in the basketball world.

But what does clamps mean exactly? You may have heard this term being uttered in a basketball game or in social media.

In its literal meaning, the word clamps refer to a device used to bind two parts together firmly. The most common example is a C-Clamp which is used for microphone stands so it can be attached to a desk.

In basketball, “clamps” refer to an impenetrable defense by a player/team.

When someone says, “They’re clamping him hard”, it means that they’re not allowing a player to score. Another phrase used often is “You put the clamps on him” which means the same as the sentence above.

Basically, clamps Is a term that describes the ideal defense which is to not allow the opponents to score at all.

Where Did the Term Clamps Came From in Basketball?

It’s hard to pinpoint when the term clamps were first used in basketball. We imagine that people back then used the term along with others.

But thanks to the internet, we’ve seen a lot more people using the term more in interviews, comment sections and random videos.

So, we did a lot of digging and clamps most likely came from the popular video game NBA2K.

Badges were first introduced in NBA2K15 and they’re unlockable attributes that players can use to upgrade their player’s skills. There are different types of badges that belong to different categories such as:

  • Shooting
  • Finishing
  • Playmaking
  • Defense/Rebounding

Under the Defense/Rebounding Badges, players can unlock a badge called “Clamps”. The badge lets a player gain the ability to lock in an offensive player, so they won’t be able to easily get past you.

Essentially, it means to put tremendous defensive pressure on the opponent such that they won’t be able to easily get past you and score.

The term has the same context in both the video game and in real life which is why a lot of people use them as a basketball slang nowadays.  

Tips to be an Elite Defender

Aside from dunking or sinking a three, one of the best feelings in basketball must be when you shut down an opponent. Being a strong defender is an asset in today’s basketball especially since everyone just wants to attack the basket.

But just how can you improve your defense without relying too much on your height or size?

Here are the tips used by the best defenders in basketball:

1. Stay Low

Being a great defender all starts in your foundation. Being in a low stance helps you to react to any sudden movement by an opponent.

To do this, simply squat a little with your knees bent a little. Keep your feet a shoulder width apart and both of your arms up.

If you notice, most basketball players will also squat a little when dribbling and attacking the basket. So, by leveling yourself with them, you’ll become stronger on defense.

2. Mind Your Feet

Contrary to what most people think, defense is a lot about your footwork. To be a great defender, you’ll need quick reactions, and it all starts and ends with the feet.

You’ll need to stay on top of your defender so you’ll do that by place your feet where your defender will go.

The most important tip is to not let your feet cross rather slide as the opponent moves.

3. Be Aware and Proactive

Basketball is also a mind game. You’ll need to think one or two steps ahead of the opponent if you want to win.

So, once you’re on defense, you’ll need to be aware of your opponent’s stance and potential moves. You can’t predict every single thing they’ll do but you’ll need to be at a position where you’re ready to react.

Having a low stance and keeping them close to you is a great start. Then, to put the clamps on them, you’ll need to be pesky. Don’t let them get even a head start because they can blow by you quickly.

You also don’t want to overextend your arms as you go for a steal as you can lose your balance.

Best Defenders in NBA History

A lot of fans love flashy moves and deep threes nowadays. But if you’re a true fan of the game, you can’t deny that being a great defender helps to win championships.

Here are the best defenders in NBA history:

1. Bill Russel
2. Tim Duncan
3. Hakeem Olajuwon
4. Kevin Garnett
5. Gary Payton

A lot of people can agree that these players were a threat defensively during their era. A lot of great defenders are centers and power forwards naturally because of their height and size.

But there are also notable defensive players like Gary Payton and arguably greatest player of all time – Michael Jordan.

Final Thoughts

Clamps is a term used by a lot of fans in basketball today to refer to incredible defense.

It’s believed to be originated from the NBA2K but wherever it came from, it’s part of the basketball culture now.

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