Basketball Shooting: Are Shooters Born or Made?
by Nick Bartlett, on Feb 9, 2016 10:47:23 AM
What do you think? When it comes to basketball shooting, are shooters born or are they made?
It’s an interesting question that’s been asked for years in basketball. There’s no doubt that some athletes are just born taller, stronger, faster, quicker, etc... But what about shooting?
For example, most know Steph Curry’s father, Dell, was a great shooter. So was Steph born a great shooter just because his Dad was a great shooter?
And does that mean you can be born a “bad shooter”? If that's the case, is there anything you can do about it?
With the 3-point shot becoming more prevalent in the game every year, we’ve seen players come out of nowhere to become great shooters.
Let's take closer look at a few specific players and concrete numbers. I’ve outlined 4 examples below of NBA players who have improved their shot dramatically in their careers:
It's hard to believe that a PG who's biggest knock at the beginning of his career was that he couldn't shoot ended his career with the 3rd most 3PM in NBA history! But outside shooting was a real struggle for Jason early on. I specifically remember the joke that his name should be "Ason Kidd" because he had no "J".
He hovered around the 30% mark on his 3 point attempts in his first 10 years or so in the NBA. But then you can see a clear gradual improvement as he became a seasonsed veteran. Once he got to Dallas in 2008, he recorded back to back seasons of a 3PT% above 40%! You can make the argument that Jason was born a terrific passer, but he definitely wasn't born a great shooter. After years of diligently working at his shot, he turned himself into an elite shooter by the end of his career. He finished with 1,988 3PM which today ranks as the 5th most in NBA History. Kidd was definitely MADE into a shooter.
We likely still haven't even seen the best of Kawhi Leonard. But, his biggest downfall when he declared for the NBA Draft was that he couldn't shoot. And the numbers didn't lie. In his 2 years at San Diego State, he shot 25% from 3 point land. While many knew he was extremely athletically gifted, how far could he really take his NBA Career if he can't shoot?
He probably landed in the best place possible when the Spurs traded for him on draft day. He obviously worked tirelessly on his shot because in his first 3 years he hovered right around a 38% 3PT shooting clip. And this year, he's taken it to a whole new level. As I write this, he's shooting over 47% and has made 88 3 pointers before the All Star break! Kawhi has clearly been MADE into a shooter and now is easily a Top 5 player in the league.
Many believe that Channing Frye has always been a great shooter. This may be true, but in 4 years of college ball at Arizona he made a total of SIX three pointers at 26% accuracy. He then only made 20 three pointers in his first 4 years in the NBA.
Then, boom! In his 5th year, and 1st with the Suns, he hit 172 threes at a 44% clip. Whether he had that in him all along is anyone's guess, but Frye has clearly MADE himself into a shooter. Since then, he's been known as one of the best stretch 4/5 shooters in the game. It's a miracle that he was able to come back from an enlarged heart in 2012 to keep playing in the NBA, but a huge reason is because he's a rare big man with tremendous range.
It's taken a while for Carroll to develop into a shooter. Coming out of college, no one was really sure if he could play Small Forward at the NBA level because of his lack of a jumpshot.
In college, Carroll hit 27 total 3s. He then hit only 27 three pointers in his first 3 years in the NBA. It wasn't until he went to Atlanta when he started catching fire from the outside. He hit 217 threes in 2 years in Atlanta right at right about 40% accuracy and is continuing his surge as a shooter in Toronto today. There's no question that through a lot of dedication, DeMarre was MADE into a shooter.
There are COUNTLESS other shooters that have made similar drastic improvements in their jumpshot throughout their career. Even (arguably) the best shooter of all time, Stephen Curry, has made significant improvements as a shooter throughout his time in the NBA.
The main purpose of this article is to show that with extreme dedication and smart training, anyone can develop into a shooter if they want it bad enough just like the shooters above. I can guarantee you that these 4 shooters didn't just wake up one day as great shooters. There are no shortcuts or magic secrets to becoming a great shooter. Through hard work and diligence with basketball shooting drills, these players made huge strides. You can too!
I think Dell Curry said it best:
“Parents ask me: What’s the key to getting my son to shoot like yours? Repetition. You have to have confidence you can do it, and that only comes by putting in work, and then doing it when the game’s on the line.”
Verdict: Shooters are MADE
Now that you know shooters are made, use these 3 Simple C's to improve your shot no matter what level you're at!