David Nurse is an NBA Shooting Coach & Consultant. He works with NBA/College/Euro players to further advance their skill set and their career. He runs the top online basketball training and shooting instruction site www.perfectshotsshooting.com and also travels all over the world running shooting camps for his business Perfect Shots Shooting.
1) Shot Preparation
Jennings has a very lackadaisical approach to his shot preparation and attacking his jump shot. To become a great shooter, this is very important. The shot doesn't start when a shooter has the ball, it starts in the pre-shot motion when the ball is en route to the shooter. Poor shot preparation affects the dynamics of consistent range, arc trajectory, and shot speed. Jennings is a career 35.2-percent three-point shooter and has never shot over 40 percent from the beyond the arc. Even worse, has only shot over 40-percent field-goal percentage one time in his career.
Jennings has many flaws in his shot that contribute to his lack of consistency from three-point range. As you can see in Jennings shot, he brings the ball back to the point where his elbow angle reaches 45 degrees as opposed to the ideal 90 degree elbow angle needed at the point of release. The 45 degree elbow angle that Jennings uses causes him to "sling" the ball instead of actually shooting the ball. "Slinging" the ball does not leave much room at all for error. Jennings also does not use his lower body to explode into his jump shot and does not have his feet prepared to generate the momentum needed in order to take the dependency away from his arms for range consistency. A great shooter uses what is called a 75/25 split. This means that 75 percent of the shot relies on the legs, and 25 percent relies on the arms. Jennings is closer to a 50/50 split, which causes for vast inconsistency. Not a good scenario for a player who attempts three-point shots at a rate of 56 percent of his overall shot distribution. JJ Redick, known for primarily only being a three-point shooter, averages 46 percent of his overall shot selection from behind the arc. And that's from a great three-point shooter! As a point guard, Jennings only shoots inside 17 feet 18 percent of the time. Compare that to the top PG in the league, Chris Paul, who shoots inside seventeen feet 37 percent of the time. Jennings needs to significantly balance out his shot distribution.
2) Volume of Shots
Brandon Jennings is a volume scorer. Plain and simple, no debate. Jennings is the poor man's Allen Iverson. He needs to attempt a high volume of shots in order to put up decent scoring numbers. Out of the 126 players in the NBA who play what would be called "significant minutes," Jennings ranks 126th in field goal percentage. The only player behind him? JR Smith. I could write a novel on his shot selection. Jennings also ranks in the bottom 10 percent in points per possession at 1.07. Jennings is scoring 16 points per game while attempting 14.9 shots per game. Any time a player's shot attempts nears their points per game, this is an immediate red flag that they are highly inefficient. This is true in Jennings case for his entire career. He has shown flashes of brilliance as he scored 55 in a game during his rookie season to become the youngest player in NBA history to score 50-plus points in a game. But don't let that fool you; every inefficient player has their anomaly.
As a point guard, Jennings takes too many shots and his shot selection is sub-par.
3) Shot Selection
Jennings shot selection is egregiously bad. Of all Jennings' shots, 24.9 percent are wing three-point attempts; the furthest distance on the court. 34.87 percent of his shots come from behind the three-point arc. For a PG who is a sub-par three-point shooter, this is not ideal. Let's compare that to the best PG in the league, Chris Paul. Paul only attempts 23.83 percent of his shots from behind the arc. The majority of Jennings shots can be allocated into three categories: transition, spot up, and isolation. Unfortunately, Jennings possess below a 1.0 ppp in all three of these categories. He ranks in the bottom 19 percent in transition, and the bottom 29 percent in spot up situations. If this weren't bad enough, the part of Jennings shot selection that really gets under my skin as a professional shooting coach is his heavy reliance on a step back fade-away jumper. It's one of the lowest percentage shots a player can attempt, and Jennings has fallen in love with it. The worst thing is, once he makes one, he won't quit shooting it. It's almost as if Jennings is trying to shoot the most difficult shots possible in order to take pressure off of himself to actually make a shot.
All great shooters know that optimum balance on the finish of their shot is extremely important. Jennings has gotten into a horrible habit of landing on one foot and turning his body too far while in the air. The ideal finish is what I call "five and a quarter." This means the shooter needs to land five inches in front of where he took off and finish with a quarter turn so that his shooting shoulder is directly in line with the hoop. A common mistake that the regular basketball ‘joe' will preach is "straight up, straight down." However, in this scenario the shooter diminishes his leg power and has to bring his arm across his body in order to have his follow through finish directly in line with the hoop, which causes for inconsistency. (See Blake Griffin) Jennings, however, turns far too much on his finish to the point to where his body is contorted when he lands. As a left-handed shooter, his left foot is landing in almost a straight vertical line ahead of his right foot. As his body turns too far in the air, the majority of his shots are missing to the right side due to the torque of his turn. The sad thing is that we're just talking about Jennings poor balance on his finish when he is shooting in a catch-and-shoot or a pull-up situation. You can imagine how bad it is when he reverts to his favorite shot -- which, next to the full court heave, is the lowest percentage shot in the game.
We can all thank Allen Iverson for this one. What a lot of players don't know is that the finish of their jump shot is just as important as their shot preparation and the actual motion of the shot. Jennings, unfortunately, has a very poor finish. Jennings has what I call "Allen Iverson syndrome" with his shot. Iverson was known for never holding his follow through and immediately bringing his shooting arm down to his side after his shot. A phenomena that has negatively affected youth basketball players throughout the world. Jennings is a product of this. Even though it might at times look cool to do (which I'm afraid Jennings is overly concerned with), it is not effective. If I had to pick the single most important aspect of the shot, it would be the follow through. It controls everything. Think about it, in every sport it is necessary to hold the follow through for control purposes. Golf, tennis, throwing a football, pitching a baseball, the list goes on and on. The same is true for basketball. Jennings fails miserably in this aspect.
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