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One of the NBA’s best defenders has become one of 2024’s most accurate shooters: How Herb Jones found his shot

It took no time for Herb Jones to establish himself as one of the NBA’s best defenders. Before he even played a preseason game, his New Orleans Pelicans teammate Trey Murphy III nicknamed him Straitjacket and “Not on Herb” became something of a rallying cry for the team. He was a starter almost immediately, badgering star scorers and blocking jump shots.

Offense was another story. Jones entered the league a good cutter and ball mover, and he was dangerous in transition, but he was available with the No. 35 pick in the 2021 draft because his shot required reconstruction. When he got on the floor with Fred Vinson, the Pelicans’ resident shot doctor, at summer league in Las Vegas, Jones understood that he’d have to be patient. That didn’t mean it was easy to handle opponents completely ignoring him outside the 3-point line, daring him to shoot.

“If you got the label as a non-shooter, it feels like every shot is the game-winner,” Jones said.

Vinson wanted Jones, a southpaw, to keep his feet square to the basket, generate power from his base and release the ball on the left side of his body. “It’s been a lot of work, bro,” Jones said. “In the summers, me and Coach Fred, we probably go to the gym at 9, work out, I probably lift, then we shoot again after.” After his rookie season, he spent so much time at the practice facility in New Orleans that teammate Larry Nance Jr. offered to pay for him to go on vacation, an offer Jones did not accept.

Twenty-nine games into this season, Jones’ third, his effort was still not translating to better shooting numbers during games. His 3-point attempts had risen on a per-possession basis, but he was making just 30.9% of them — even worse than what he’d managed in his first two years. Then, seemingly overnight, shots started falling — 3 for 5 against the Lakers, 2 for 4 against the Nets, 4 for 5 against the Timberwolves — and they haven’t stopped. From Dec. 31 onward, a 28-game sample size, Jones has shot 54.5% from 3-point range, the best mark of anyone in the NBA (minimum 45 attempts).

When a…


Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/one-of-the-nbas-best-defenders-has-become-one-of-2024s-most-accurate-shooters-how-herb-jones-found-his-shot/

Author : James Herbert

Publish date : 2024-03-06 15:12:24

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