Numerous NBA players, analysts, and fans believe the mid-range game is forever gone, and they would be right to a certain degree if it weren’t for a few players that do it so well in the NBA today. When you watch games, you can see on numerous occasions both teams jacking up one three after another without much team concept or any kind of diversity on offense. Part of the blame falls on the coaches, who encourage their teams to play that way the majority of the time.
However, in this playoffs, we’ve seen someone like Chris Paul who showed mid-range game can still win you games, and it seems people forgot it could be one of the most efficient shots in basketball if you execute it properly.
In a recent interview for the Balldontstop podcast, former NBA player Jamal Crawford talked about the importance for players to develop that aspect of their game. Even though advanced analytics is something teams heavily rely on because it suggests shooting more three-pointers, Crawford emphasizes that several legendary NBA players used the mid-range shooting to their advantage, and it worked.
The mid-range shot is like a jab in boxing. It keeps you honest. Just like everyone knows they need threes and layups, the defense knows that too. When you see a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, CP, or all of those great great players, are killing teams with that. It’s a jab, and it keeps you honest. Once you get that mid-range shot going, it’s a layup; it’s a fifteen-footer. Let’s play to our strengths; let’s not play to our weaknesses.Jamal Crawford, via Balldontstop
Crawford made a great comment about the importance of practicing mid-range shots because they get you ready and confident to take the three-point shot. He used an example of Steph Curry, who always starts his practice drills with close shots and then works his way up to the three-pointers. Crawford does not hate on the three-point shot because he is 8th all-time in threes made but believes players should expand their skillset because that can make them almost unstoppable.
Even when you see a guy like Steph Curry, who is the best three-point shooter ever, he starts his routines getting close—shooting midranges until they go in and then works his way up. I have nothing against the three-point shot; I just think there is more than one way to skin a cat. You should never put yourself in a box. There is more than one way to score.Jamal Crawford, via Balldontstop
Several players in the NBA still use the mid-range game as part of their offensive repertoire. Truth be told, there aren’t many of them, but those who were able to implement it to their game tend to do really well in today’s NBA. Just as Crawford mentioned, despite the trends that are currently active among the coaches, which favors three-pointers and layups, players should look to add more elements to their game. No matter what that is because that is the only way you can succeed in today’s NBA.
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