Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard‘s 37-foot 3-pointer in the playoffs last season will live in NBA history forever. How far out Lillard was highlights a larger trend of players testing their limits behind the arc. Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN talked to Lillard about preparing for tough shots like the one he hit:
“Shooting it off the bounce, shooting them without jumping, shooting them with no momentum, shooting them from a deep squat and raise up and shoot it,” he said. “You know, just uncomfortable positions but still trying to shoot an accurate shot.”
Lillard worked with his longtime trainer Phil Beckner on deep threes, perfecting his shooting away from the 3-point line. Lillard has gained the trust of head coach Terry Stotts when he pulls up from way out:
“Earlier in my career, [Stotts] wasn’t a big fan of it,” Lillard said. “He didn’t have the confidence in it that I had.”
But over time, that changed.
”He sees how often I work on it, and how detailed it is when I shoot them off the dribble or off the catch -- dipping, holding, no-jump, stuff like that,” Lillard said. “And in games, he sees that it’s going in at a higher clip year after year. So it’s got to the point now where he accepts it.”
You can read more from Goldsberry’s breakdown of long-distance 3-point shooting here.