Isn’t it hard to stay sharp with one’s jump shot when field goal attempts in games are generally less common than December game winners for Kobe Bryant?
Take Adam Morrison.
He hasn’t played in five games, since being afforded 5:35 of late action against the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 6. And through 24 contests, 20 of them Lakers wins, Morrison has been on the court long enough to hoist only 32 total shots, hitting 11 (34.4 percent).
Yet as the Lakers attempt to build on back-to-back wins over the Bulls and Bucks with Saturday-Sunday contests in New Jersey and Detroit, minute allocation wouldn’t appear to be changing for a guy playing behind likely the NBA’s best and deepest roster.
After all, Morrison knows that he is much better than a 34.4 percent shooter, and the difficulty of trying to knock down shots after often sitting down for three quarters before entering (or just keeping his warm ups on altogether) hasn’t been lost on him.
That doesn’t mean he’s full of excuses.
“If you’re a short-minute guy or a specialist, like they call it now, you have to come in and have the attitude that you have to pull the trigger and let it go no matter what happens,” he said. “Your teammates and coaches are expecting you to knock it down, and that’s what I have to do.”
The question is, how does a former college star who played nearly 30 minutes a game as a rookie before tearing his ACL prior to the 2007-08 season stay sharp with tempered expectations for game action?
“It’s repetition and practice, making sure you’re getting up enough shots every day, combined with the mindset of staying ready and confident in yourself to knock it down,” explained Morrison.
The Gonzaga product went on to say that if one is more or less assured of playing good minutes (take Kobe Bryant, as the easiest example), that player can pick and choose when it’s a good time to get his own shot or to pass the ball to a teammate within the flow of the offense.
On the other side of the coin, if you’re a player like Morrison or even Sasha Vujacic, each of whose primary threat to an opponent is his ability to score quickly, there’s a good chance that the focus of the defense is elsewhere. The shooters are expected to step up.
“You don’t really have time to let the game flow for you,” summarized Morrison. “You just gotta let it go.”
From a technical standpoint, Morrison has one trick that he uses to keep himself focused.
“I always just try and hold the follow through until it goes in,” he said. “That helps me because I usually short-arm shots if I don’t hold it.”
Other than that?
Like he said, there’s not much to think about.