Canadian Roundup: Shooting Development

In today's installment of the Canadian Roundup, we take a look at shooting (especially 3pt shooting) development through the lens of some young Canadians.

The modern NBA has been defined by its blistering pace and unprecedented levels of 3 point shooting accuracy. It's become a tall task to succeed in the NBA without a consistent perimeter jumper for most players. In today's installment of the Canadian Roundup, we take a look at shooting (especially 3pt shooting) development through the lens of some young Canadians.

Let me preface this piece by saying I am not a shooting form/mechanics expert. The majority of this piece focuses on the more obvious trends and tweaks I have noticed with each players' form. There's a lot of finer grain details (ball placement in the shooting hand, wrist motion, ball rotation, launch angle, etc.) in shot mechanics that I don't cover (mostly due to not having access to data/film on these details), which are extremely influential on shooting accuracy.

Dalano Banton

When it comes to Banton's shooting development, it's important to remember where he started from. Looking at his shooting splits before being fully entrenched in the Raptors development system, you can see how much of a non-shooter Banton was. Not the most encouraging starting point but an important one to keep in mind for contextual reasons.

2018-2019 @ Western Kentucky3155.921.61.240.2
2020-2021 @ Nebraska2765.924.73.041.1
2021 Summer League541.702.448.6

Diving into some of his college film, and his form and shooting mechanics don't look terrible, albeit inconsistent. The biggest takeaways to me with Banton's shot in college was how upright he is throughout and how slow it took for him to get from gather to release.

I think that being so upright really hampers Banton's "sway motion" in his shot mechanics. For those unfamiliar with the "sway motion" it's a part of the Pro Shot Shooting System and specifically refers to how the feet should "sway" forward during the jumpshot with natural momentum. Kyle Lowry has always had some great "sway" on his jumpers. On this sequence, look how much closer Lowry is to the basket after he takes the shot and lands. That's the "sway" in action.

Now compare that Lowry shot to Banton's college form from above and on this sequence here. It's a pretty dramatic difference and to me this lack of "sway" made Banton's mechanics a lot less fluid and "natural".

In catch and shoot opportunities, Banton's form was a lot quicker from gather to release. Interestingly, as Banton brings the ball up to shoot, the ball is off centre and biased to the left side of his face, which isn't ideal. Normally for right-handed shooters, the ball is brought up along the right side of their face, so this was definitely a concerning part of Banton's mechanics.

Here's a screenshot highlighting Banton's shooting misalignment from the sequence prior.

So how has Banton's shot developed with the Raptors? Looking at his numbers with a little over a year in the system and they are encouraging! The 3PA has risen to levels not seen during his collegiate career and the FT% improvements are huge. And while the 3P% shooting has been more erratic, it's slowly improved as well, especially considering the volume of shots attempted.

2021-2022 w/ Toronto Raptors6459.125.50.841.1
2021-2022 w/ Raptors 905754.539.34.050.7
2022 Summer League483.346.23.346.8
2022 AmeriCup679.228.15.340.2
2022-2023 w/ Toronto Raptors2087.531.02.049.1

After his breakout performance in Detroit this season, a game where he scored 27 points on 3-7 shooting from 3 and 9-16 shooting overall, Banton was asked about his shooting improvements and growing confidence with his jumper.

In his response, Banton talks about the tweaks he and the Raptors development staff have worked on with his shooting mechanics, including "trying to get it off faster, you know game-like shots".

Looking at his mechanics now and the fluidity and time to release have both improved. Banton's posture has also become a lot less rigid and upright and look how much more "sway" Banton has in his shots as a result.

Here's a different camera angle where we can get a good look at Banton's "sway" after releasing the shot. Also, notice how Banton's right leg swings forward to allow him to turn and align his right hip and shoulder with the basket. This is all good stuff!

And here's a side by side comparison of the amount of sway in some of the different jumpshots we've seen so far. Certainly a noticeable change in Banton's shooting mechanics.

While the shooting form and mechanics have been improving, it's still been inconsistent, which is expected. I don't think any shooting coach would want a player to land cross legged like Banton does in this play (perhaps an overcorrection to align his right hip with the net?) , so there's still some things that he can clean up. Regardless the shooting development from Banton has been substantial in such a short amount of time.

He's even willing to pull movement 3's now! Granted this was in the AmeriCup where he featured in a more prominent role in the offense, but Banton's improved confidence and shooting accuracy will certainly up his value in the halfcourt. Dalano Banton is getting closer and closer to being a full-time rotation NBA player.

Andrew Nembhard

For those familiar with Canada Basketball, Andrew Nembhard has been on the radar for quite a number of years. Standing at 6'5", Andrew Nembhard's high level processing and adept passing touch made him a high level guard prospect. The swing skill for Nembhard's NBA hopes has been his shooting. Diving into his college shooting numbers and you can see the gradual improvements, especially after transferring to the development powerhouse that is Gonzaga. And now, he's seemed to make another jump in 3PT shooting accuracy during his rookie year.

2018-2019 @ Florida3676.434.72.8
2019-2020 @ Florida3177.530.83.4
2020-2021 @ Gonzaga3275.432.33.1
2021-2022 @ Gonzaga3287.338.34.2
2022-2023 w/ Indiana Pacers2486.740.43.7

Thus far, in his rookie year, I personally have not been able to find any noticeable tweaks in his form. Compared to Dalano Banton and Brandon Clarke (who we'll touch on in the next section) Nembhard's mechanics in college were much more advanced.

I have noticed though that Andrew Nembhard has 2 distinct shots depending on his footwork when gathering the ball in the shot pocket. When he explodes off of 2 feet using the "hop" , he usually gets a lot higher elevation off the ground. For example, take a look at this sequence from his final year at Gonzaga and watch how hard he plants his feet before rising for the shot. It's quite the abrupt stop and jump.

And here's another example of that higher elevation, this time reaching further back in time to the 2019 FIBA World Cup with the Canadian SMNT (he was fantastic I might add during that summer campaign despite being an incoming sophomore at the time).

However, whenever Nembhard does the "1-2 tap" with his feet, the elevation he gets is much lower. See this sequence from his rookie year and it's noticeable how much lower the elevation is on Nembhard's shot. To me, on these lower elevation jumpers, it feels like his form is more fluid compared to when he's using the hop and exploding higher.

I've hand tracked the majority of Andrew Nembhard's 3 point attempts from this season so far and interestingly he's attempted much more "1-2 tap" 3's and is more accurate with this footwork.

Off the Dribble JumpersCatch and ShootTotals3P%
Hop5263138.7 (12/31)
1-2 Tap19335246.2% (24/52)

What I've seen is Nembhard is much more comfortable using the "1-2 tap" on off the dribble jumpers and in catch and shoot situations when he's able to set his feet before catching the ball. The "hop" is used primarily when Nembhard has to adjust his positioning to the pass before shooting the ball.

The off the dribble stuff (especially stepback jumpers) definitely makes sense to be more of the "1-2 tap" footwork. You can try this at home yourself! Try to do a stepback where you plant either foot, then when stepping back you land on both feet (like you're doing a backwards hopstep) and then explode off of both feet again as you shoot. It's much more difficult to pull off then the footwork Nembhard uses on this play!

Here is an example of the pass coming into his shot pocket, allowing to "1-2 tap" right into the 3 point attempt.

Meanwhile, on the move, Nembhard is much more likely to utilize the hop to set his feet before shooting.

And perhaps the Pacers shooting coaches have been working with Andrew to keep his elevation on jumpers low. Here's an example of Nembhard using the "hop" this season and look how much lower his feet are off the ground. Something to monitor moving forward.

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