Over the summer and throughout the preseason we heard, time and time again, how Andre Iguodala was hard at work on his jumper. Rumor has it, he was shooting 500 threes per day, getting his jumper ready for prime time as the team's starting shooting guard. This is something to love about Iguodala. He picks a weakness and works on it tirelessly until he turns it into a strength. This is part of the reason why I (still) think his extension was not only earned, but vital to the team's long-term development.
While he's proved his dedication and work ethic are beyond reproach, that doesn't mean his methods can't be second guessed. I used a question mark in the headline because I'm adhering to my 21-game grace period for everyone on the Sixers. Still, this is a topic that I think we need to discuss. The question, were all those shooting reps really making him a better shooter?
There are two ways to look at this. The first school of thought, and I have to assume this is what Andre was clinging to, is that repetition builds muscle memory and strength. Meaning, by shooting 500 shots/day, he was developing a shooting motion that he could reproduce under any condition and also developing a feel for the long jumper. He may wind up being right, but if I were Iguodala, or his coach, I would've suggested a different approach.
This quote may be a bit harsh, but read it anyway: "The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." (I believe it was an Albert Einstein quote) What I mean by that is, if a jump shot is mechanically flawed, no amount of repetition is going to fix it.
Judging from early results, it looks to me like Andre did nothing to mechanically change anything about his jumper over the summer. It looks exactly the same to me. Now, he wasn't a horrible shooter last season, and he's never been a horrible shooter throughout his career, so maybe he didn't think his jumper needed to be reworked. Still, I think if you ask most scouts, coaches or even fans, his shot is not pretty. It's not a fundamentally-sound shot. There is absolutely mechanical work which could have, and should have, been done to make it an easier motion to reproduce and give the ball a better chance at finding the bottom of the net from distance.
The second route he could have taken was to hire a shooting coach and spend the summer starting from scratch. Get a guru and start from square one. Work on balance, release, follow through and trajectory. Use that repetition to perfect improved mechanics. The NBA has several guys who are good shooters with ugly shots. Shawn Marion and Kevin Martin come immediately to mind. The difference is, those guys are already good shooters, so why mess with it? Iguodala was an average shooter, at best, so what was there to lose with this type of approach?
If you brought this up with a lot of guys they'd be hesitant. Andre's been shooting his jumper a certain way probably since he was 10 years-old, and it's brought him this far. To get him to tear it all down and start over could be quite a hit to the ego, but it shouldn't be. The most-dominant golfer ever, Tiger Woods, after winning multiple majors in his 20s realized he could have an even more perfect swing. He took the time to tear down all of the muscle memory he'd built up over the years and rebuild his swing from scratch. He came back even better.
Someone should've made this point to Andre heading into the offseason. Unfortunately, they didn't, now all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that all of those reps will turn into something as the season progresses.