By now, we're all aware that Evan Turner's jump shot isn't the smoothest collection of movements in the NBA. The important thing is, Turner is also aware of this. From the first day of training camp, the mechanics of Turner's outside shot have clearly contained a few hiccups. But, considering his production at Ohio State, you figured he'd always found a way to score points anyway, so what would be the point of altering it at this stage of the game?
Apparently, the mechanics of his jumper is something Turner has been considering, working on, and something of which he's quite aware. After this morning's shoot around at the FedEx Forum here in Memphis -- the 76ers play the Grizzlies tonight -- Turner addressedthe issue of his jumper: "I shoot after practice, I work on it. I try to do it all in one motion, limit the air. My boy [Andres] Nocioni sat me down and said, ‘Every shot should be one motion, not broken into two parts.’ I just really try to focus on that, leave my follow thru up a little bit longer."
Asked if he was serious about Nocioni actually sitting him down and offering this advice, Turner said he was. (Adding: "But then he starts talking fast and I can't understand him, but I remember, 'One motion.'") Asked if he hadn't previously received this advice, Turner said, "I guess, but I'd never really shot that badly up until this year."
"If it ain’t going in, you might as well try something else," Turner said. "It’s not like the original way worked. But, you know, just shooting the deep ball with me is a mentality thing. I’m not too fond of it in general, but I have to get used to shooting the long ball and expanding my game. It’s a valuable part of my game I have to work on."
Turner talked about finding a shot doctor in the off-season, about putting in extra time in Philly this summer, about working with Doug Collins on his off-the-ball movement once the season is over. Collins said he hasn't talked with Turner about his jumpshot and that he doesn't want Turner to address the mechanics of it during the year, but that he is aware of the flawed mechanics. Collins even said he has spoken with Herb Magee about working with Turner this summer.
Most likely, if you've paid attention to Turner's outside shot, you're aware of the mechanics of it. But for those who aren't, there are two main issues: Turner's guide hand is too far in front of the ball. If your two thumbs are supposed to form a "T" when holding the ball in the shooting pocket, Turner's is forming a "T" with the top plank of the "T" floating about six inches off of the body of the "T." Really, he's not forming the "T" at all. This leads to too much interference from the off hand, which likely puts some interesting spin on the ball. The second issue is the jerky movement once Turner reaches the peak of his jump. He doesn't seem to shoot in the flow of his body's movement upward, but actually after all his energy has been used to reach the peak of his jump. It looks almost as if he's more concerned with jumping as high as possible rather than with transferring the upward energy into the shot. Obviously, this isn't the case, but that's the visual translation of the issue. He has that hitch at the peak of his jump, immediately after which he releases the ball. (This, of course, relates to Nocioni's advice of "One motion, one motion.")
"The one thing you don’t do is reconstruct something while the season is going on," Collins said. "What you’re trying to do right now is make sure he shoots it the same way each time. That’s what gives you a chance."
And, in watching Turner the last month, he has a lot of confidence in shooting the ball, the confidence appears to be growing. He's taking his shots with more energy and belief that he'll make them. For the year, he's 41.1 percent from the floor and 27 percent (10 for 37) from three. The recent confidence seems to be coming more from finding his place within the team rather than any specific change in his jumper (something he plans to attack this summer). He said he's repeated the mantra "one motion" to himself while shooting, but there's been no official breaking down and building back up of his mechanics.
"The thing about it is, I’ve never even really talked to him about his shot," Collins said. "Because that’s the last thing I really want him out there being concerned about it. I told him about a month ago: 'You hang your hat on rebounding and defense right now, those are the two things you do.' Because the way we play, we get in the open court and share the ball, he’s going to get open shots. It’s not like we’re having him stand over in the corner somewhere and swing it to him and be a stand-up spot shooter."
Although this morning's conversation began about Turner and his jumper, it was also about how well he's been playing lately. He's been rebounding, he's been pushing the ball in transition, he's been finding the open man and seeing the floor. He's been effective in distributing and we're starting to see some of the play everyone expected from the No. 2 draft pick.
Here's this from Collins: "I always kid with him. I was kidding with him after the Minnesota game the other night, I call him ‘Pistol Pete’ now. I just said, ‘You probably wish you were somewhere where you’re taking about 20 shots a game and just running up and down the floor with no accountability.' And he said, ‘No, no, I’m where I’m supposed to be.’ And I said, 'As long as you understand that.' And he said, ‘I’m not ready to run wild just yet, but I will be Peyton Manning soon.’ He feels good about himself and that’s what made Evan the player he was at Ohio State. And our guys like him, they really do, he’s become a fun teammate."
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