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  1. #1
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    How Dennis Smith Jr. is fixing his jumper (Article)

    HARRISON, N.Y. — Dennis Smith Jr. needs some water, but first he’s going to have to hit some free throws.

    It’s another day in the lab at Purchase College’s athletic facility for the Knicks point guard who is approaching a critical juncture of his young career. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, he has to show teams — including his own — that he’s ready to take the next step.

    Moments ago, Smith had darted up and down the court, baseline to half-court, back to the right corner pocket where he shoots, and swishes, leaning corner-pocket treys. He must get at least five attempts up within 50 seconds, and he must make at least three if he wants to move on.

    He must do this from almost every angle a three-pointer can be hoisted from.

    “I’m tired, man. I could go to sleep right now. Sweat, wet and all,” Smith says, sprawled out on the court. “But that’s the whole point of it. Getting tired and continuing to press as hard as you can. I’ve been doing it all summer.”

    For Smith, and those watching, the hope is that his next step includes improvement to a jump shot that has misfired at the NBA level. Smith is a dynamic player, but a point guard without a jumper isn’t going to go far in today’s NBA. For what it’s worth, he believes he can shoot. The shot just hasn’t fallen.

    That’s why Smith’s agent, Raymond Brothers, paired him with one of the purest shooters the league has ever seen.

    Former Denver Nuggets guard and current independent player consultant Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is sometimes referred to as the Steph Curry before Steph Curry. His lightning-quick release — one he can still fire, now into his 50s — carried him to averages of 19 points and 7 assists on 39% shooting from three and 93% shooting from the foul line in the best year of his career.

    And the trajectory of Smith’s shaky jumper now rests in his capable hands.

    Rauf has no official title, but for all intents and purposes, he is the league’s newest Shot Doctor. He has worked with Markelle Fultz, Victor Oladipo, DJ Augustin, Jerian Grant, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Josh Smith. Of those, he singled out Dinwiddie as a hard worker, and Fultz as someone he expects to take strides.

    That’s the reason Smith’s agent, Raymond Brothers, put the two together this offseason. Smith works out with Rauf five days a week, and has done so for months since safely being allowed to do so in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. He now says he’s in the best shape of his life, better than when he set conditioning records with the Knicks last season.

    This offseason has not seen a wholescale restructuring of Smith’s jump shot, but Abdul-Rauf noted several components that needed an overhaul.

    First came ridding himself of unnecessary movement. Abdul-Rauf’s split-second jump shot was a byproduct of a flick of the wrist. He’s been hammering that into Smith, who has been using his arms in the shape of an L — like a catapult — to generate firepower. As a byproduct of that L-shaped form, Rauf said Smith was also blocking his own sight to the rim.

    “We talk about taking away unnecessary stress and getting rid of wasted energy,” Abdul-Rauf said. “There are so many levels to get the quick shot, not just fast-twitch muscles but even technique, so the farther [your arms] go back, the longer it takes to get it off. We’re trying to get that L off so you don’t have to use your arms.”

    Next up was the timing. Smith’s shot clock was running behind his body clock. Not only was Smith slowing his release down at the top of his shot, releasing the ball after his elbow had already locked, but he was releasing his shot on the way down from his jump.

    More wasted movement. More wasted energy.

    “That uses more upper body, and now you’re not gonna have as much depth and you’re not gonna be as fluid,” he said. “The more you use your body and you going up and shooting it either right at the top or right before you get to the top, your momentum is gonna make that shot more effortless to get to the target and you’re not gonna have to use as much energy, and you’re gonna have more distance.”

    The fix for this was simple: The shot doctor stood next to the shot patient and worked through the motion of the jump shot with him. Every single day. Every single rep until he liked what he saw and felt.

    “Same shot. Same release time. Same jump. Everything,” he yells during this workout. “I’m trying to duplicate how it feels.

    “That’s why I get on his side sometimes. Together. Together. Cause now I’m here, and you’ve gotta meet me with it. It gets into a rhythm better. Now once I do that, I don’t have to show him anymore. Now you’re not slowing it down.”

    Finally, he has to put it all together. Smith is a lead guard, which means he has to generate looks for himself and his teammates. Spot-up jump shots are good, but they will rarely be available, especially if his training translates to gameday.

    They run these drills week after week, pushing through because conditioning is key — especially if Smith will be playing for Tom Thibodeau. Rauf throws different dribble combinations at Smith, in part because practicing ballhandling gets your heart rate up. He also strings that ballhandling into the shooting movement to cement the progress Smith has made in restructuring his jump shot.

    “A lot of times, when you start adding stuff and you try to work on this, when you go up, you end up reverting back because you’re trying to put it all together,” he said. “Piece-by-piece. Dribble, dribble-crossover, it’s steps. Combinations and footwork. Stuff that he wasn’t accustomed to.

    “In the NBA, you can get into a pattern. I told him, ‘You want to make unpredictability your pattern.”

    The last part Smith and Abdul-Rauf haven’t quite fixed yet: His flick of the wrist is more of a twist. Smith’s wrist flicks to its side when he releases the shot. Again, if it ain’t broke-broke, don’t over-fix it. In this practice gym, Smith’s shot looks more fixed than it’s ever been.

    Shooting in an empty practice gym to the sweet, soothing sounds of Sinead Harnett, however, is not the same as shooting with a defender closing out, in a high-intensity pressure situation, with the game on the line — or in front of fans, though that doesn’t project to be the case this season in New York.

    The work he’s putting in behind closed doors speaks for itself. If that work can translate to the upcoming 72-game NBA season, Smith will be bilingual.

    His athletic gifts have never been in question: If Smith can get downhill with the defender on his hip, he’s a threat to put the biggest of big men on a poster with a tomahawk over the top of this head.

    And if he can finally add the missing component in his game — consistency in a jump shot that hasn’t been there — it will be a revelation. New York City is yearning for a winning team for the first time since the Carmelo Anthony era, and the biggest question mark on their roster is at the one.

    Smith may be tired after sprints up and down, after hundreds, maybe a thousand, of shooting repetitions, after days on days of pushing through the fatigue. At least he can rest easy, knowing he’s worked with one of the greats this offseason.

    There will be a lot to prove for Smith this coming season, and a lot to earn — playing time for the Knicks, or whichever team he’s with come December; a lucrative new contract; respect from all the defenders who have been backing off his dribble like Barry Bonds is at the plate. But the first step toward earning any of that is earning another drink of water.
    https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/b...wga-story.html
    Last edited by YoungStuna; 11-24-2020 at 09:51 PM.


    Kristaps Porzingis
    Stronger than most 15 year old girls.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Can we not do this again?

  4. #4
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    New shot Dr?

    Guess the old one got sued for malpractice

    And did they just say he “set conditioning records”? For what, worst in team history?
    Last edited by ShadyOne; 11-24-2020 at 09:26 PM.

  5. #5
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    At least hes trying and brought in a coach to help him, instead of sitting around eating bojangles.

    We know frank is working hard too.

    Wish I could say the same for Mitch, but hes more worried about his cod ranking

  6. #6
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    If Dennis Smith Jr worked on his game, Dallas would not ever had traded him but that's what pissed off Rick Carlisle. The kid didn't work on his game and doesn't understand passing.

  7. #7
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    DSJ breakout SZN!

    This is his last shot. Starting PG is up for grabs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TakeAnotherL View Post
    At least hes trying and brought in a coach to help him, instead of sitting around eating bojangles.

    We know frank is working hard too.

    Wish I could say the same for Mitch, but hes more worried about his cod ranking
    I always laugh my *** off when you roast Mitch lmao

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna View Post
    I always laugh my *** off when you roast Mitch lmao
    I wish he would give me a reason not to, but hes like a 13 yrs old kid

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TakeAnotherL View Post
    At least hes trying and brought in a coach to help him, instead of sitting around eating bojangles.

    We know frank is working hard too.

    Wish I could say the same for Mitch, but hes more worried about his cod ranking
    Yep. Should be a competitive preseason at the guard position to win those starting spots and minutes. Trust in Thibs.


    Kristaps Porzingis
    Stronger than most 15 year old girls.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TakeAnotherL View Post
    I wish he would give me a reason not to, but hes like a 13 yrs old kid
    I just don’t appreciate when you call him dumpling head like it’s a bad thing..

    Dumplings are good

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadyOne View Post
    I just don’t appreciate when you call him dumpling head like it’s a bad thing..

    Dumplings are good
    They are mad good, but they simple, dough and a pork filling. Just like Mitches head.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TakeAnotherL View Post
    At least hes trying and brought in a coach to help him, instead of sitting around eating bojangles.

    We know frank is working hard too.

    Wish I could say the same for Mitch, but hes more worried about his cod ranking
    Lol you’re a fool lol
    Spurs Sim league
    2 time Champion 653-331

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Detfink View Post
    If Dennis Smith Jr worked on his game, Dallas would not ever had traded him but that's what pissed off Rick Carlisle. The kid didn't work on his game and doesn't understand passing.
    Are you stupid ? They make that trade 100 out of 100 times Jesus
    Spurs Sim league
    2 time Champion 653-331

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TakeAnotherL View Post
    They are mad good, but they simple, dough and a pork filling. Just like Mitches head.
    LOL

    Simple as they may be, they get the job done though. You get that legit order of fried pork dumplings, hit the spot

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