There is no reason why Jimmy Fallon would ever have to go play basketball as a way to make a living. Currently 45 years old and a longtime media personality who probably has enough money in the bank to live comfortably over a dozen lifetimes, Fallon’s basketball career would, presumably, struggle to get off the ground before it ever began.
But in the event Fallon would ever try to go hoop, we got a glimpse into how that would go on a recent episode of The Tonight Show. The answer to how that would go is what we all assume: real bad.
Fallon, a six-foot tall guy out of D-II institution the College of Saint Rose in Albany, shot hoops with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is a well-documented hooper. Sanders’ game does have some holes — he may not be able to hit a jumper outside of, like, 10 feet, while lateral quickness appears to be a weakness for the octogenarian out of Vermont — but at the very least, his ability to hit shots in his comfort zone is not a huge issue.
This is not the case for Fallon. The pair did a segment that involved shooting hoops, with Sanders besting Fallon, 4-2, on shots from a few feet away from the basket. Sanders was not perfect, but we’re going to ignore him for a few moments so we can focus on Fallon’s game.
Fallon’s shooting woes go beyond this segment. This video, from the Twitter account of Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, shows the depths to which Fallon’s shooting form is an issue.
— Faiz (@fshakir) November 27, 2019
At his height and age, Fallon needs to be able to hit jumpers if he wants to make it in the league. This is very obviously not going to happen as his jump shot is currently constructed. The good news is that this is a potentially fixable problem if Fallon returns to his fundamentals and hammers those home between now and next June, when the 2020 NBA Draft will occur.
This still image gets to the heart of the issue with Fallon’s shot:
What we have here is a basic lack of basketball principles. As everyone who played in grade school can tell you, the B.E.E.F. concept is crucial in having a constant, accurate jumper. Fallon, admittedly, has his eyes (E) on the rim, which is a good starting point, and I can’t tell for sure if he is balanced (B) or not. There are times where he does not jump, opting instead to stay flat-footed when he shoots, which cannot happen given his height. You can see that at the 4:40 mark of The Tonight Show‘s video that Fallon hits a shot, but he appears to drift to his right. Going straight up and down is going to be important for him, and it would help a ton if he got that out of his game entirely.
Now, the two biggest issues: I have no idea what Fallon’s elbow (E) is doing. It is like he is playing beer pong, as he’s opting more for a gentle flick for making sure his elbow is consistently bent at 90 degrees and in line with the rest of his body. As for his follow through (F), it’s just ghastly. He very awkwardly looks like he’s hot potato-ing the ball out of his hand and is not flicking his wrist. The ball comes off of the heel of his hand more so than his fingertips, which is a recipe for disaster.
My guess is that other segments that require him to shoot non-basketball things — namely his random object shootout segment — has caused these aspects of his shooting form to go completely haywire. The difference between shooting a basketball and trying to get a different object into the hoop is devastating for someone who does not have a consistent, repeatable shooting form like Fallon. It’s especially bad when Fallon did, at the aforementioned 4:40 mark, show a general understanding of where to put his elbow and following through. It would also help if he did not pull his left hand away from the ball completely and used that as something that could guide it.
Other skills are unclear — we do not know if he can pass or dribble or play defense, outside of a Saturday Night Live skit from a few years back that did not help his cause — so his draft prospects come down to his ability to hit shots above everything else…
[Is made aware there is another angle of the clip Shakir tweeted out that shows him shooting a layup on Sanders’ Instagram Story.]
…alright, roll the clip.
Jimmy Fallon you are not going to make it into the NBA by airballing an uncontested layup, my man. I have an undraftable grade on him, and it’d take something special for him to work his way into the second round.