Kyle Korver 2
Photo: Bleacher Report

Basketball coach Roger Galo analyses to TalkBasket.net the shooting mechanism of one of the best sharpshooters in the NBA, Kyle Korver.

“He’s not settling, even after all these years; he’s still trying to improve his game, and for that reason alone I’ve got a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for Kyle Korver.

Not many shooters at the NBA level would dare change anything when it comes to their shot! Are they missing out on something?

Shot Analysis, Courtesy of Roger Galo:

One of the greatest, most cerebral shooters in the NBA Kyle and I have had the chance to talk about his shooting at length.

When Kyle and I met at a 76ers social event in Philadelphia, he was in a shooting slump, which all shooters have experienced far more than they’d like to admit.

Roger Galo 2
Photo: Roger Galo

At the time, he was leading the NBA in foul shooting percentage at 91-92% coinciding with a dismal 29% from the three-point line, which is why I was so excited to connect with him. I told him that he probably had one of the fastest shot releases in the game.

Although he was smiling in response, the smile quickly changed to an awkward stare when I then said he had a slow jump shot. He seemed puzzled and crossed his arms. The second easiest shot in the game, in my opinion; there was a huge gap of 63% between the two areas.

“Why so huge a difference?” I asked him, “do you shoot mechanically differently from the foul line than out there?” Without hesitation he replied, “no”, arms still crossed and no smile. I happened to agree with him, his mechanics are nearly identical.

My next question to him was, “then what do you do differently out there that you don’t do at the foul line?”

After a pause, he said that the difference was that he was being guarded. I explained to him that the vast number of shot attempts he had taken within the offense, was curling off a screen with his primary and only defender usually trailing far enough behind that he launched his shot in most cases “uncontestedly”.

I had to tell him, “you jump. Is your jump that detrimental to cause you to miss so many more of your attempts?”

The shot analysis which follows is one that is especially exciting for me to do because most great shooters don’t change anything when it comes to their shot over their entire basketball playing careers, Kyle did, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he’s still not finished with it.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MARCH 14: Kyle Korver #26 of the Utah Jazz shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 14, 2019 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

FOUL SHOT:

Korver lines up based upon the painter’s nail, places his right foot closer to the line than his left foot, which trails approximately 2-3” behind. His feet are angled to the left, not straight.

He shifts his body and weight over toward his right foot and leg as he dribbles the ball 3 times closer to his right foot. As he bends to retrieve the third dribble, he positions his hands between his waist and knees while he is bent and the ball is still low.

He makes sure the seams are east to west in his hands while moving the ball over towards the center of his body, up and over his head between his eye and ear — his set point.

He’s explained to me that his hard eye target is the front of the rim, something he picked up from his mother, who was a sensational player back in her day.

He has a short pause as he comes out of the last bend prior to raising his ball up to his set point, then he pauses again as the ball is above his head and is cocked back further backwards, brings it forward, and then launches it.

Although it’s not the most efficient method, he’s proven to make it work most of the time, hence his high foul shot percentage.

As he’s doing this, his guide hand is higher, slightly on top of the ball, and angled leftward and away from his body, more than his right hand. Earlier in his career his guide hand was more on top of the ball than it is currently — kudos to him for repositioning it.

When I showed him a photo of where he had it, he seemed a little surprised. I have come to learn most shooters don’t know why they miss. If they did, they’d make the adjustment on the next attempt, wouldn’t they?

And the next attempt would result in a made basket. Korver does a great job of not turning or pronating his shooting wrist or guide hand, not only on his foul shots, but his jump shots as well.

His foul shot is so routine that he understands the probability of him making the shot hinges strongly on reproducing his routine as precisely as possible on every single attempt.

His mechanical and robotic execution coupled with his work ethic prepares him to confidently step to the line and expect the correct outcome: the ball going through that basket and the points going up on the scoreboard.

JUMP SHOT:

His mechanics, being so similar whether he’s taking a foul shot, a mid-range, or a three-ball enables me to get into the other components that come into play when he’s jump shooting.

We all know he’s not taking many short or mid-range jumpers — he’s in the NBA to sink three-pointers.

His stance is typically wider than shoulder width apart, and his right knee used to turn significantly inward toward his left knee much more than it currently does, which added more rotational force than most shooters could control.

Because he’s doing it less than he ever has, he’s been achieving higher shooting percentages than he had earlier in his career. He’s gained more control over it.

It may have started with his feet, but immediately caused the right knee to collapse inward affecting the hips and upper body, which explains why when he landed, invariably his feet, knees, and body would be nearly 70-80 degrees to the left of his approach and launch location from which he jumped to shoot.

This was a real issue that posed significant challenges to him earlier in his career. The other thing he has worked hard on doing was jumping the same on nearly every jumper, contributing to his consistency — his lower body would always land forward of his upper body, and turn many degrees leftward.

Kyle Korver 4
Photo: ESPN

Many shooters develop this style of jumping on their shot, which I believe is partly due to creating a fading back type shot that is more difficult to block.

It does not lend itself to consistency because it adds another more complex variable to the shot. It is one of the more difficult jumpers to perfect, especially from further out.

Kyle’s been doing it so long that it’s become embedded in his DNA and has not crippled him, as it would most good shooters.

Kyle has decent elevation on his shot and a moderated kind of jump that he’s learned to re-create over and over due to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of repetitions.

He’s one of the most ready to catch and shoot players in the NBA. You can see the effort he applies to catching the ball with his hands in position to shoot it as quickly as he can, which makes him a more efficient and faster shooter.

Additionally, when catching the ball, Kyle quickly brings it up to his set point to initiate his shot. Again, earlier in his career, it was a lower set point, but now as a cerebral shooter and a veteran, he’s established a higher set point which makes him faster at getting his shot off than before, despite being older.

While in Atlanta, the coach urged him to add another dimension to his game, he began putting the ball on the floor, incorporated ball and shot fakes more frequently and became less predictable and harder to guard.

As a result, while with Atlanta he had his two best consecutive 3-point shooting percentage seasons of his entire career.

Not many veteran ball players, shooters in particular, would’ve been willing to do whatever was asked of him for the betterment of the team and risk shooting worse.

He’s much more exciting to follow now as a scorer and contributor, not to mention how much more fun he must be to play with as a teammate. It wouldn’t surprise me if he made a few more tweaks to his shot before he retires!”

*The article was written by basketball coach Roger Galo and edited by the Chief Editor of TalkBasket.net, Yiannis Bouranis.