Kyle Kover has been one of the NBA’s best long-distance gunners for years now, but his numbers this season have launched into the stratosphere. So far, he’s shooting a positively stunning 53.7 percent from behind-the arc, and if he can keep this up, he’ll be the inaugural member of the transcendent 50-50-90 club. Oh yeah, and he’s been an integral part of the Atlanta Hawks’ Hoosiers-esque Cinderella story and their reign atop the Eastern Conference standings that culminated in a franchise-record 19-game winning streak (snapped two nights ago by the New Orleans Pelicans) and designation as legitimate title contenders. The icing on the cake would have been his first All-Star selection, and that may very well still be in the cards if Dwyane Wade gets sidelined by rickety knees and Adam Silver is forced to name an injury replacement.
So what’s been the key to Korver’s phenomenal three-point prowess? Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports caught up with the long-distance sniper recently for a fascinating look at what makes him tick and how he’s nearly perfected his shooting mechanics over the years.
Korver has a 20-point checklist that helps him determine how sound his shot is. “It’s things I’ve identified that are keys to my shot,” Korver said.
1. Wide stance.
2. Exaggerated legs.
3. Drop through heels.
4. Engage core.
5. Slight bend at waist.
6. Up strong.
7. Elbow straight.
8. One hand.
9. Fingers spread.
10. Slight pause.
11. Elbow up.
12. Land forward.
13. See the top of the rim.
14. Ball on fingertips.
15. Strong shot.
16. Shoulders forward and relaxed.
17. Ball and arm risen straight.
18. Hold the follow through.
19. Keep the release point high.
20. On turns, square shoulders.
That’s right. A 20-point checklist, and if you read Zillgit’s piece, you’ll see Korver also uses mental challenges — like a 25-mile paddle boarding marathon — to improve his zen-like mental toughness.
Most of us recall the basic doctrine we learned from our junior high and high school coaches, who taught us to square up, bend our knees, and flick our wrists, but this is some next level stuff right here. It’s no wonder he has possibly the most aesthetically-pleasing form the league has seen since Ray Allen.
What’s more is that Korver’s philosophy toward practice flies in the face of conventional wisdom. But then again, ignoring conventional wisdom is what often leads to greatness.
Jamal Crawford – who boasts arguably the best handle in the world – claims he doesn’t practice his moves, nor does he bother with popular ball-handling exercises involving cone work and/or juggling multiple basketballs at once. Likewise, Korver eschews the more popular shooting drills and opts instead for the types of shots he might take in game situations.
The NBA’s ongoing obsession with the long ball has transformed players like Korver into invaluable commodities, and young shooters everywhere entertaining lofty dreams would do well to study his techniques and habits.
Here’s looking forward to watching Korver square off against what might be the best Three-Point Shootout field ever assembled at All-Star Weekend, which includes the likes of Wesley Matthews and the Splash Brothers themselves, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
What do you think?
Will Korver Win the Three-Point Shootout at All-Star Weekend?
Follow Jamie on Twitter at @WinoCarpenter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.