A term in basketball which describes the action of a player moving across the court. It is used to describe a player making a concerted effort to move quickly across the court in an attempt to get open to receive a pass or draw the defense away from a teammate. The term comes from the speed with which a player must move in order to successfully execute his move across the court, and the way his move "cuts" the court in two. A cut most often applies to an offensive player; a defensive player would be tasked with defending against the cut.
A cut does not have to be straight and is not necessarily in any given direction. When a player is making a cut, it can be with or without the ball. A typical instruction from a coach would be for a player to cut away from or towards the basket. A player would cut towards the basket if he were the intended recipient of the ball, and away from the basket if he were attempting to draw the defense away from a teammate in order to get him open.