Knicks shooting guru trying to save Dennis Smith Jr’s shot
Dennis Smith Jr is still far from a finished product, and the New York Knicks are hoping that an intensive summer with their shooting guru benefits him.
In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post that ran on Sunday, Knicks assistant Keith Smart, known as the team’s “Shot Doctor,” spoke about the work he has been doing this offseason with the 21-year-old guard’s shot.
“It’s getting his delivery system into the shot where he can get more confident shooting,” said Smart, who has been working with Smith in his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C. as well as during summer league in Las Vegas. “He’s been a willing participant. I told him it would be tedious process to start. But if we do it all right, he’ll start feeling it … We started shooting in a chair, taking out all the floor movement and just looking at the shoulders. The delivery of the hands through the basketball. We worked on that for about a week.”
As he enters his third NBA season, Smith is at just 40.7 percent from the field for his career, including 31.6 percent from the three-point line.
“We tried to slow things down for him, leaving the floor,” Smart added. “You see all the great shooters don’t leave the floor that high to get their shots off. They just have good lift on their shots. And your feet shouldn’t be off balance when you shoot the ball … We did it slowly. But the big thing is he had to get the confidence to believe in it. And as we did it, he got more confidence in his shooting. Before you knew it, we were right on track. The only piece missing is live competition when he gets into a real game and puts it all together.”
Smith was acquired by the Knicks in a midseason trade last February and still has two more years left on his rookie contract. His batty athleticism speaks for itself, but major improvement on his jumper will really aid Smith as he looks to the next season with revenge on his mind.