Many players, once they arrive in the NBA, never work on their game, preferring to use the same arsenal of moves year after year. Needless to say, very few get far with this kind of strategy.
Former NBA player Kenny Smith, who is also the analyst on the Inside the NBA, wasn’t one of such players, and recalled a story of how he had to develop his shooting.
“When I first got into the NBA, my first four years, I think I shot less than 100 three pointers,” Smith recalled on Inside the NBA. “Then I went to Houston and practiced in the summer time with Hakeem [Olajuwon] and I thought I’d be [shooting threes].”
Smith wasn’t a great three point shooter before he arrived in Houston, never shooting over 35% from long-range, while playing for Sacramento and Atlanta. It changed when he started playing for the Houston Rockets.
“I shot a 100 [threes] in the first 25 games,” Smith recalled. “So, you had to work on that for three months, and I didn’t.”
Then, Smith asked for help from one of the deadliest long-range shooters in the NBA, Dale Ellis.
“So I called Dale Ellis, and said ‘hey how do you shoot the three’, and he actually showed me, in a charity pick up game how to shoot threes, and he shot them so easily. But before that I never shot threes before I got to Houston,” Smith said.
Smith spent his time in the NBA, playing for Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets.
He appeared in 737 NBA games (650 started), averaging 12.8 ppg and 5.5 apg in 30.1 mpg for the career.
Smith is mostly remembered for his time in Houston Rockets, when he won back to back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.
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