Basketball and the Night Watch.
In most of my coaching career I would not allow a mid-range jump shot. I wanted lay-ups, and if I couldn't get the lay-up, then I wanted the free throws that resulted from the effort to get lay-ups. I would also be cool with a rhythmed three coming off a kick-out.
My thinking on such matters could largely be explained by an article I read entitled The Free Throw Game. The article explained the value of certain types of shots as related to each possession. Lay-ups, and-ones, free-throws, and three pointers were the highest rated with each yielding a plus one point per possession. The only shot that was lower than one point per possession was the mid-range shot, and this basically told me that my teams should concentrate on shooting threes, making lay-ups, and getting to the free throw line.
It has taken me quite a while, but I've finally reached a point where I can see some value of the mid-range jump shot. Firstly, because I've watched our girls shooting them off the dribble and see how quickly they can align the shot and pull the ball into the correct shooting pocket with the elbow up and pointing toward the rim. That doesn't happen all the time with threes, even off of kick-outs. Too many kids like to hold the ball at waist level or out in front of their body to begin their shot.
Secondly, there are several times in game where an attacking player gets into a situation where the drive is stopped and there is no passing option. It is a moment that requires that the player shoot the ball, and it is always better from a coaching perspective to be prepared for such moments than it is to just throw up some random bullshit. I've learned that the caveat at such times should be don't throw up random bullshit and not don't shoot the midrange jumper.
Finally, I've watched way too many games not to realize that the truly great players have great mid-range games. They are able to put shots up in traffic that not only add points to the total but also great artistry to an already beautiful game. Coaching with analytics does not have to be boring.
I would add a condition though. Stats don't lie (people do, not stats), and the fact is that attacking the rim will statistically always produce more points than utilizing the mid-range game. This needs to be acknowledged in how teams prepare. In certain situations, the stats change though, and it becomes what has a better chance of scoring when a player is caught in traffic, a hastily thrown up piece of crap, or something that has been practiced?
Practice time is severely limited. So, I would still emphasize daily practice on offensive execution, attacking the rim, shooting rhythmed threes, and free-throws. I would tell players who want to shoot the mid-range shot jumper the same thing that I tell them about shooting threes which is that "you have to earn the right to shoot". That shit ain't guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. I would also mention how much I hate people who shoot just inside the three-point line, and how I would disown my own daughter for doing so.
But if I had a player who wanted to excel and raise his/her game to that next level, I would have tell them to work at shooting pull-up jumpers on on their own using timed pressured drills and requiring the making of consecutive shots.
And more than likely, it would be their number I would call when the game was on the line.
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