Mind of a Knockdown Shooter

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

A knockdown shooter is a great asset to have in the arsenal as a coach. There’s nothing better than knowing you have a guy that you can kick the ball out to that’s a guaranteed swish when left wide open. Every championship team had one: Steve Kerr and Tony Kukoc in Chicago, Derek Fisher and Robert Horry in LA, LeBron’s platoon of shooters in Miami that included one of the best of all time in Ray Allen, and now Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State.

They always play a big role in how effective the offense operates. The shooter may not be the main guy, but as the game plan is conducted offensively around the superstar, the shooter is always put in position to be seen by the player with the ball just in case he gets into trouble. But just how he’s an effective role in the offense, the opponent has him/her dotted as a red X on their clipboard (well at least they should). 

When a team has a bonafide shooter, it makes it that much harder for the defense to plan for it. Usually coaches teach their players to always know where the shooter is and make sure you stay attached. But as a defender, that becomes difficult at times, because the natural instinct is to help your teammate that’s getting beat to the basket. This exact mindset is what made LeBron and those Miami Heat teams so great. He was surrounded by shooters and LeBron is way too physically gifted to be stopped one-on-one. He forced help to come and that’s where his platoon became effective. Trying to stop a shooter can become difficult, but the last thing that you want to do is to leave them open.

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Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Being a shooter is all about confidence, repetition, and being ready. To become a great shooter is all about practice and getting up as many shots as possible. That elbow-in, high arch form that you try to perfect eventually becomes muscle memory to the point where it naturally happens and you don’t think about it anymore, — to where your shot becomes more consistent and that confidence builds up. If you talk to any of the best shooters to play the game, they will all tell you that every shot they take, they believe it’s going in. If you want to be great you must contain that same confidence as well. 

Every player has their niche when it comes to pre-game rituals. As a shooter it’s all about getting as many shots up as possible. The blood has to get flowing and the body has to get warmed up. Taking a lot of shots during pre-game always sparks confidence and gets the player comfortable with the court they’re playing on.

Being ready and staying ready is crucial. As I’m playing, I’m always aware and talking myself through each play to see what’s going on. Hands out, knees bent, ready to shoot at all times. Find the open spot on the court and be available to the ball handler. The defender is too deep, catch-and-shoot, CASH. My teammate has his man beat, my opponent has to help so I drop as the ball drops. Spot up, catch-and-shoot, ANOTHER-ONE (DJ Khaled voice). Catch the ball on the wing — triple threat position, jab step, force a reaction, lazy defense, so I’m pulling it, HAND DOWN-MAN DOWN (word to Mark Jackson). My teammate drives and kicks it out, the defender is running out too fast — pump-fake, one dribble pull-up, BUCKETS. 

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(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

GAME ON.

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