Shot mechanics

Just a quick post on a topic I'm interested in. I'm no expert on basketball shooting form or biomechanics by any means. I did read about it and watched some DVDs, e.g. the Better Basketball DVD where J.J. Redick explains shooting, but after what he achieved so far in his NBA career he should offer people a refund (pure shot, no elevation, not to speak of his defense). These are just some general observations - which could be plain wrong. So please share your observations, and what you think the guys can improve, which player has the best fundamentals, who has the most to learn, etc.

(Updated with more photos)

LaMarcus Aldridge: High release point. Ball positioned on the front of his fingers, not completely palmed like many players. High elbow that doesn't fling outside which helps a lot. Stabilizes it well with left hand. All in all a good shooting form.


Nicolas Batum: I couldn't identify something major wrong in his shot so far that causes him to miss. But the result is often too flat causing the ball to bounce far away after hitting the rim, and with a high diffusion/scatter plot (inconsistent). His misses look to be all over the place, often too long. High release point that should contribute to help him become good at creating his own shot in the future.

Batum-outlaw_medium(Bruce Ely, Oregonian)

Jerryd Bayless: Shot-put/fling motion, a bit a la Peja Stojakovic who acquired that because he didn't have the strenght to get the ball far enough as a kid. Broke his wrist in high school, so maybe that has something to do with it. Had scouts raving about his shooting form. E.g. Aran Smith who I value highly and who absolutely nailed Brandon’s profile before the draft wrote that Bayless "needs just an inch of daylight to get his jumpshot off". Another scout wrote later "His pull up jumper is magnificent; with the elevation, balance, and quick release, he is virtually able to shoot whenever, and over whomever he desires". DraftExpress also lauded his "perimeter shooting ability" and "pull-up jumper". So I have to wonder where this went since right now the jumper is just off and slow. A lack of repetition in game situations? Overwhelmed by NBA defenders (yet who leave him wide open at times)? He might really benefit from an off-season of training with the Blazers shooting coach to get on track for the next year.


Steve Blake: Decent motion, sometimes takes the off-hand away a bit too early. Deadly catch-and-shoot when left open. Not much elevation and not a high release point (shoots from his chest a bit), so he has trouble creating his own shot under cover. Which isn't a major problem since he is very good at selecting when to shoot.


Rudy Fernandez: Good hand and elbow position. A bit unstable when going up a la Kevin Martin, often leaning back. Not a super-fast release, but can create his own shot. Doesn't give up shooting when his shot is not falling (optimism/confidence in his abilities, which can be both good and bad). This nice photo is more symbolic than really indicative (unstable lower body) since it was a running shot closer to the basket.


Channing Frye: Form looks almost textbook-style, elbows high up, nice follow-through. Judging from photos and videos he tends to put the right hand not quite far enough under the ball/in the middle giving it a slight off rotation. He already did that with the Knicks, so it's nothing new that came with increasing his range out to 18+ feet. Psychologically can fall in love with his jumper, causing fans to feverishly type things like "go inside" in gameday threads ;-)


Raef LaFrentz: Used to have a good outside shot for a big man, but skipped here for obvious reasons.

Greg Oden: I have not seen him take enough mid-range shots to really criticize his shooting form. Judging mainly from free throws and his play closer to the basket he appears to have good soft hands and no major hitch in the motion (unlike e.g. Dwight Howard who pushes the ball too hard at the end of his motion). Thus could develop a reliable shot.


Travis Outlaw: Super-high elevation, enabling him to shoot over anyone. His shots often look...uhm...unique?...but in principle he has good shooting form enabling him to hit those crazy lean-back shots in isolation. Usually very high arc, I wish Sergio would learn to bring his elbows so high up to and sometimes even over eye level.


Joel Przybilla: Well, in general Joel shouldn't take shots other than dunks and layups in game which he hits with amazing efficiency in the last two years, and will probably not learn (or need) a mid-range shot. But he has really stabilized his free throw shooting to a good percentage, focusing on a consistent repeatable motion and learning where he needs to stand on the stripe since his shot is not completely straight. Goes deep in the knees for his free throws.


Shavlik Randolph: I don't know how far out his shot really extends since most of his attempts this year came from around the rim, but the form looks to be pretty good with the elbow maybe a bit far out. He also seems to have an arsenal of moves to get off his shot. I assume Coach K and his staff drill good shooting into you. Wouldn't be surprised if he could hit similar shots like Channing. Not easy to find picture proof, but here you go to get an idea:


Sergio Rodriguez: Pretty quick release. Good hand positioning. Could benefit from lifting elbow significantly higher and bringing it more under the ball from what I see at times. Despite working on it his shot over the summer and apparently continuing to do so in private sessions the result is still often as flat as the earth was believed to be before the Spanish conquests.


Brandon Roy: Looks good to me with a nice follow-through, and he obviously makes many jump shots even under intense pressure. Goes up very straight with a stable body (unlike Travis, Rudy). Keeps his elbow in which is very important. You can see that he tends to put the left hand very high on the ball to stabilize it on many photos, which is a bit unusual (Pau Gasol makes that to an extreme, and still hits). When he gets closer to the basket, his jump shot transforms into a floater with a very nice arc.


Michael Ruffin: No comment about a man airballing lay-ups. He is just not a polished offensive player, and I doubt Nate & Co. have a lot of shooting on his training plan. Make your free throws big fella.


Martell Webster: Very pure and highly repetitive motion, ideal catch-and-shoot player and spot-up shooter after going around a screen. Might even be able to speed it up more since his mechanics are really good. High release point. Not so good at creating separation off the dribble (where e.g. Travis and Roy excel), and sometimes shot selection is a bit questionable.


That was it. So as said above, please share your observations. If you coach basketball, maybe you are especially trained to see good and bad shooting.

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