People keep asking about Jerryd Bayless's progress. It's almost as if he's a lottery talent that hasn't played much and no one has any idea what he's capable of or where he's at. Oh, right.
Like I wrote yesterday, during the open sessions of camp Bayless is going 110% at his fellow point guards. Not always with perfect results. But he's taking no prisoners. After one play today, he walked to the sideline, picked up the garbage bucket that collects the extra basketball balls and then slammed it down forcefully while shouting. For no particular reason. Intensity. Frustration? Is there a difference between intensity and frustration when you're in his position?
One of the more interesting quotes to come out of the coaches and management Media Day was from John Townsend, Blazers shooting coach, to Andrew Theen of OregonSportsLive.com. Townsend said...
I think Jerryd Bayless is shooting the ball a lot better. He was working with [former Phoenix Suns head coach] Frank Johnson. Frank got him to do some of the things I couldn't get him to do in regard to jumping, which transferred into a higher lift and a better, more consistent jump shot. So, he shot the ball really well in some of the scrimmages that we saw this fall.
Consulting Synergy Sports's player breakdown of Bayless, we find that he was "Below Average" on 3 point shots compared to the rest of the league and "Poor" from midrange as well. I don't think those ratings are particularly surprising to anyone that watched him play last year. Outside of 5 feet, you started to get a little bit worried when he released the ball during game situations.
According to Synergy, Bayless's numbers when catching and shooting and unguarded during last season: 6 for 28 for a rating of poor. Arguably the weakest part of his game. This was particularly frustrating for observers who were able to watch him regularly succeed during post-practice shooting. In a practice setting, Bayless regularly gets hot and in a rhythm, knocking down jumpers at a percentage that rivals just about anyone on the team.
For comparison purposes, here's a video I shot earlier this summer (July) as Bayless was preparing for Las Vegas Summer League.
To be sure, this is something of a flawed comparison because he's elevating, shooting on the move, and closer to the basket in the second video.
With that said, to my eye he seems to be displaying a slightly softer touch on the end of his release. You can also see the mechanics while he receives the ball are pretty tight, tighter than I remember from last season. His stroke also seems a little bit quieter overall: less effort and less forced. Is there still room for improvement? Well, yeah, near the end of the video the ball shaggers are running all over the court.
Let's open this up though for a group discussion. What do you see? How does his shot look? Improved? The same? Other thoughts or observations?
More from practice coming later.
-- Ben (email@example.com)