The 2010 No. 2 overall pick, Evan Turner, had a rough rookie season.
That starts with trouble putting the ball in the basket with any consistency. The main reason for that was Turner’s shaky outside shot — the 22-year old Ohio State product finished well at the rim, but shot only 37.6% on 10-15 foot jumpers, 37% on 16-23 foot jumpers, and 31.8% from beyond the three-point arc.
This off-season, Turner is trying to shore up his biggest weakness, and has been working diligently with Philadelphia area legend (and college coach) Herb Magee to change the mechanics of his shot and become a more successful shooter.
Unlike what most NBA players do, which is get into the gym and just take hundreds of jumpers and three-pointers, the work Turner is doing with Magee is breaking everything down to the absolute basics. Anybody who has ever played or worked on their shot knows the structure at a camp or as a kid: shoot the ball to yourself with all of the fundamentals in check (feet shoulder width, shooting elbow tucked in, etc.), shoot the ball in the air to someone else, approach the hoop and shoot one-handed shots employing the same fundamentals, add the guide hand (off hand) and shoot within a foot of the rim, slowly take steps away from the rim, etc.
Again, one more time for emphasis, the fact that Turner is absorbing this instruction and not scoffing at the thought of shooting the ball to himself in the air should give you an indication that he’s pretty coachable. I don’t know a lot of NBA players who would allow their game to be broken down to such a microscopic level. It sounds like Turner and Magee worked for over an hour and a half yesterday and never got past shooting the ball one-handed, not more than a foot away from the rim.
According to Magee, the problem with Turner’s shot isn’t his shooting hand, but the placement of his off, or “guide” hand, and that’s what he’s looking to fix. Plenty of rookies have come into the NBA and struggled because of shaky jump shots — what separates the semi-late bloomers from the busts is which players are willing to put the right kind of work on their shot in and which ones aren’t.
Turner appears to be putting the work in — if the results come, he may well live up to his No. 2 pick pedigree in the near future.