Most everyone, ever, is taught to focus on the rim when aiming for a jump shot (obviously). Most are also taught to keep focusing on the rim while the ball is in flight. But not everyone. Some watch the rim, but as soon as the ball leaves their hands, they observe the arcing sphere. Dirk Nowitzki famously looks at the ball.
It’s a question that’s intrigued me. I recall during the 2012 NBA All-Star game, Andre Iguodala, mic’d up, asked Luol Deng if he looked at the ball or the rim. Deng said rim. Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller later discussed the topic on Inside The NBA. Both said they look at the ball in flight once it leaves their fingers. Internet searches—with mostly message board discussions providing the results—confirm memory of this Miller-Kerr conversation. (Miller even went so far as to claim that answers amongst NBA players would be dispersed 50/50—rim vs. ball in flight; a very Miller-like, outlandish claim.) Other good shooters said to look at the ball in flight: Steve Nash and Kevin Love.
I personally keep my eye on the rim. Some coaches will tell you that switching focus to flight can add unnecessary motion, as you would tend to raise your chin to follow the path of the ball. My shot was never consistent enough to be affected by such nuance (or, rather, there can be dozen of other inconsistent ticks in motion for the average shooter). I just figured that it’s best to provide the highest amount of concentration possible on the ultimate destination. Plus, that’s how I was taught.
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 36, Washington Wizards at Sacramento Kings; contributors: John ConverseTownsend, Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidiefrom the East Coast.]
ShareBullets … news, randomness and tidbits from around the web. The previous ShareBullets was about current Wizards, this one is about past Wizards/Bullets…
Cards in Meridian Hill Park, D.C. – photo: K. Weidie
> Crittenton’s Song & Bookie Ball
Remember Kendrick “Bookie Ball” Long? Of course you do. Long, a “playground pal of [Javaris] Crittenton’s from Atlanta,” was the primary source for Peter Vecsey’s initial somewhat false, somewhat true article in the New York Post about the December 2009 locker room gun incident between Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas. We later found out Arenas was playing the joker and Crittenton, despite the official court report, did, in fact, have bullets for his gun.
Kobe and Nash will make a great duo. That’s what the numbers say anyway.
Nash had the highest assist percentage in the NBA (53.1) and made the most passes to spot-up shooters (389) in the pick-and-roll last season. More often than not, 62 percent of the time, Nash passed the rock in the two-man game, and his Phoenix Suns teammates shot 51 percent on those passes.
“With Nash taking over primary ballhandling duties and Kobe handling the ball less, expect the Lakers to get more open shots and shoot the ball at a higher percentage, including Kobe,” wrote Ryan Feldman and Rachel Eldridge of ESPN Stats & Info. “Kobe doesn’t get open very often, but when he does he’s a highly efficient shooter. If Nash is able to get open shots for Kobe, expect the Lakers to be a strong contender.”
“Right now, I see the draft and trades as the best way to use cap space to rebuild or replenish with certainty. I am hopeful we can use free agency as well—time will tell. But it may be that having cap space is a bit over-valued in free agency.” —Ted Leonsis, on the thing about cap space.
That’s a bit of wisdom shared by the Wizards’ owner at a time when the contracts being thrown at some of the NBA’s available talent pool leave you scratching your head—it’s seems to be more about dollars than sense.
Restricted free agents Roy Hibbert and Eric Gordon are set to make max-contract money (nearly $60 million in Gordon’s case), though the teams they’ll be playing for are still in question. Crash Wallace, 29, will earn about $10 million per year as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Wallace’s teammate Deron Williams, a stud, inked a five-year $98 million (!) contract.
The Washington Wizards wrap up their Detroit-plus-four-Western-Conference-teams road trip in Phoenix tonight. Having a 2-2 record against the Pistons, Blazers, Clippers and Jazz thus far is a nice accomplishment for this team. Losses in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City were far from abject, but each did display the same ills that have plagued the Wizards all season. Against a 13-19 Suns squad coming off a tough win over the Lakers in Phoenix on Sunday, the 7-24 Wizards have a fair chance to prove progression. The Suns are favored by six points. Today’s 3-on-3 features Michael Schwartz (@ValleyoftheSuns) of the ESPN TrueHoop Network blog Valley of the Suns, along with TAI’s Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Three questions, three answers… Leggo.
#1) Is Steve Nash not asking for a trade actually a very smart move, in that he’s not hurting his value by mere words, and the Suns will ultimately deal him before the deadline? Or will he really play out his contract and then leave Phoenix (or stay)? Where does he go in either case?
ADAM McGINNIS: The Suns should trade Nash from a basketball personnel standpoint, but ownership appears set on retaining him for remainder of season. If teams are low-balling for Nash’s services, there is an argument for letting him play his contract out. Fans will come to see Nash play his last games in Phoenix and that financial gain could be worth more than taking on salary or a few second round draft picks. Even though the Free Steve Nash movement has sprouted up online, Nash has taken the classy route of not creating drama with trade demands. My prediction is he plays out his contract and then signs with a title contender like Bulls, Heat, Thunder or Lakers.
MICHAEL SCHWARTZ: Steve Nash not asking for a trade has nothing to do with leverage, he’s just legitimately a loyal guy who wants to try to build something in Phoenix even if it seems crazy to the rest of the world (and some Suns fans). I’ve always felt that if the Suns were well out of the playoff race in March that he might change his tune, but there are many complicating factors such as the fact that his contract is not extendable so he’d be a two-month rental, his age, and the lack of teams that need a starting point guard. If I had to put money on it I’d say he’s going to play out his contract and potentially even re-sign, with the presence of his kids in Phoenix and the Suns’ vaunted training staff no small issues. If he does go, Portland would be my guess since they’ve been after him for years, desperately need a point guard and have the kind of assets that could make a deal work.
Here we go again… Tonight’s Wizards-Raptors game is the third of four meetings between the two clubs. Washington and Toronto have split the 2011-12 series thus far, each team celebrating a decisive victory over the other — the average winning margin is 16 points. Although the Torontonians have been more successful on the road (5 wins) than the D.C. locals have been at home (3 wins) this season, the Raptors haven’t won a game at the Verizon Center since 2009. Consider heading to the game if you have a couple of hours to kill tonight: tickets can be scored for a buck! Raptorholic Sam Holako (@RapsFan) of ESPN TrueHoop/Raptors Republic joins TAI’s John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) for tonight’s 3-on-3 roundball roundtable. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Fact or Fiction: Rashard Lewis will score four or more points tonight, joining Jason Kidd and Paul Pierce as the only players in NBA history to have scored at least 15,000 points, grabbed 5,000 rebounds and hit 1,500 three-pointers in their careers. [UPDATE: Lewis is out versus the Raptors due to what is being called a sore right knee; Chris Singleton replaced him in the Wizards starting lineup.]
From the Wizards’ perspective, you’ll hear sentiment such as, “We just turned into our old selves in the third quarter,” courtesy of Andray Blatche in the quote mix video above. He also said that too many players were trying to put things on their own shoulders and that there were no Kobe Bryants or Dwyane Wades in the locker room.
Regarding the offense, Rashard Lewis said in the first quarter the Wizards moved the ball side to side, but later in the game, they often utilized only half of the baseline to halfcourt plane.
John Wall cited lack of heart and fight … hero ball.
Nick Young said that they have to find ways to get people open, saying Grant Hill was talking to him during the game, telling him that the Suns were reading every play the Wizards called.
The last game was played in Milwaukee, and this one was played in the friendly confines of the Verizon Center. The Bucks were missing three starters, and the Suns had a healthy roster at their disposal. The Wizards are a putrid 0-20 on the road, and they went into last night’s contest with 12-8 home record–including four straight wins at home. You get the point here, there were plenty of differences between last night’s game against Phoenix and Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee. Still, it played out exactly the same.
In both games, the Wizards played flawless first quarter basketball, only to see their hard work come unraveled in each quarter after that, leading to a double digit loss.
The Wizards shot 53-percent in the first quarter, and they were mainly led by Nick Young (11 points) and Andray Blatche (10 points). John Wall did not do much damage scoring-wise (two points), but he managed to dish out a whopping nine assists, before he was subbed out for Kirk Hinrich with 3:49 left in the period.