When introduced to the game of basketball, one of the first things that are taught is how to shoot a basketball. As a kid, not much thought is put into it; you just grab the ball and chuck away but as you get older you start to learn all the little details that become so important. Shooting is one of the most essential aspects of the game and like everything else, if you want to be good at it; you must have the right fundamentals. Shooting is really an art and what makes it even greater is that each shooter has left a stamp on the game and has done so in a different way; whether it was great technique, how they got open, a quick release, or the ability to hit daggers when they counted the most. With the three point contest on the way, I’m going to give a little insight on some of the best players that I’ve seen shoot the lights out.
Shot Release: Larry Bird & Dirk Nowitzki
Larry Bird is one of the all-time living legends when it comes to all things basketball but one thing he is known for is his shooting ability. Bird was the first NBA player to ever have a 50-40-90 shooting season and he was able to do it consecutively in back to back seasons. Larry Legend was a 3 time champion, 3 time MVP and a proven shooter winning multiple NBA 3 point contests. Like Bird, Dirk Nowitzki is also on the list of being one of the talented players to have a 50-40-90 season under their belt. The 7 ft. international star is one of the best shooters that we’ve seen at is size. Larry Bird and Dirk Nowitzki are two guys that changed the game in different ways. What stands out to me about these two are the way they shot the ball. Larry bird had a shot release where he held it to the side of his head and let it fly. It looked as if he was just throwing the ball but from how consistent he was, you could tell that there was skill behind it. Dirk also had a usual way of shooting the ball in which he held it over his head. What helps him out even more is that his height makes it impossible to defend; And when he’s hitting the “fadeaway”, you can just forget about it.
Clutch: Reggie Miller & Robert Horry
When I think about clutch shooters two names come to my mind: Reggie Miller and Robert Horry. Miller’s scoring ability was unquestionable but the things he was able to pull off under duress was phenomenal. Known as the “Knick Killer” because of his amazing playoff performances against the New York Knicks, Reggie Miller’s best memory was scoring 8 points in 9 seconds. The future hall of famer is 2nd on the list of most three pointers made of all time and he’s also a part of the prominent 50-40-90 club. Big shot Rob is a name that’s usually forgot about in this discussion but if you check the archives you can see why his name must be brought up. Horry has 7 championship rings and is one of two players to ever win a ring with three different teams. Whenever it came to big moments in games, he always came through whether the play was drawn up for him or the ball just happened to land in his hands. Robert Horry’s role on every team he played on was so important and his ability to knock down shots meant a lot to every championship team that he was a part of.
Shooting Form: Ray Allen & Kyle Korver
We are currently witnessing one of the best shooting seasons ever; one that could possibly make it into the record books. Kyle Korver may be the first player ever to have a 50-50-90 season. He’s having a great year being a part of an Atlanta Hawk team that many are picking to win the eastern conference. Watching him play, I start to see some similarities to the best shooter ever in Ray Allen. He has meant so much to the league whether he was torching teams throughout games or hitting big shot after big shot. Allen’s latest and greatest big shot probably came in the 2013 NBA finals with the Miami Heat, helping them win game six which lead to a championship. Both of these guys do a great job moving without the ball; finding ways to get open. But what I like more about these two is their impeccable shooting form. Form means everything when shooting the ball. Your always taught, elbow in; not too much guide hand; and flick the wrist. There’s no flaw in the way these guys fire the ball and you can see it in their numbers. Any kid growing up that dreams to be a great shooter, can watch these two and learn a lot.