The next time you’re playing pick-up, take a moment between runs and try a step-back three-pointer. You’ll find its difficult, but definitely hittable. Next, grab your miss, walk back to that same spot, and retreat four feet. Then try the same move from that farther distance – where guys like Damian Lillard make it look so, so easy.
But it’s not, of course. It’s hard enough to get a shot from the NBA three-point line to the rim while using your normal shooting stroke from a stationary position, let alone one that has you falling backwards and sideways. After a hopeless airball, you’ll have proper appreciation for the difficulty of shots like the one Lillard connected on last night during the Portland Trail Blazers’ win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Just look at this. Dame might as well be shooting from the elbow here:
Talk about strength. But his footwork might even be more impressive.
Lillard gets space from Jameer Nelson by hesitating ever so slightly around Chris Kaman’s screen, then feigns a dribble attack. But he really wants the trey, and pulls back once he’s a step inside the arc. This is when hours and hours of practice and preparation in the gym really pay off.
How does Lillard know where the line is? And how does he maintain ideal balance while putting such torque on his left knee and ankle? And how does he jump almost perfectly straight as his momentum is taking him away from the basket?
There are two types of great shooters: Those that can and can’t shoot on the move. What makes Lillard so dangerous is that he combines quickness, pace, and explosion while being able to stop on a dime and rise for makable jumpers.
And though he’s off to a substandard start this season, plays like this show why it’s only a matter of time until Portland’s playoff hero progresses to the mean.
What do you think?
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