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Thread: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

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    It Might Be a Soft J JayRedd's Avatar
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    Default Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Given all the concern about our team's woeful shooting ability, I thought this would interest some of yall.

    I've always been of the mindset that, when it really comes down to it, most people can basically either shoot or they can't, but it's nice to see a high-profile case of a shooting coach making someone significantly better in such a short time by changing technique.

    So hey Marquis, give this guy a call.

    (My favorite line in here is the shooting coach's description of what's it was like working with Steve Kerr.)

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/playo...t&lid=tab2pos2

    Parker's improved jumper could score him Finals MVP award
    By John Hollinger
    ESPN Insider

    CLEVELAND -- Two years ago, the San Antonio Spurs won an NBA title. But Tony Parker wasn't necessarily happy.

    Then 23 years old, the point guard had been a bit player in the deciding seventh game, as Parker's inability to connect from outside against the Pistons' mighty defense limited him to a 3-for-11, eight-point performance. The Spurs periodically sat Parker and used a combo of Brent Barry and Manu Ginobili to play the point in that series, and after Game 7, writers debated whether the Spurs would even bring Parker back the next year.

    Parker has silenced his critics with his inspired play in the Finals.
    The 2007 Finals couldn't be more different. The French flash is likely to be named series MVP if the Spurs close things out in Thursday's Game 4, after Parker again made a couple of big shots down the stretch to win Game 3 -- including a rare 3-pointer with a minute left to hold the Cavs at bay.

    That's no accident. It's the culmination of a two-year process that saw him completely rebuild his jump shot and then torment Cleveland with the new weapon in this year's Finals.

    Right after the 2005 Finals, Parker made the decision that he wanted to improve. He didn't care that he was a world champion point guard making near-max money and dating a hugely popular TV star; he was frustrated that his shaky jump shot was having such a negative impact on his game.

    Enter Chip Engelland. Hired that offseason as a shooting coach by the Spurs after he'd previously plied his trade in Denver, Engelland helped rebuild Parker's jump shot piece by piece. The slingshot-like set shot that Parker entered the league with -- now gone forever -- was replaced by a smoother jumper that has repeatedly made the Cavaliers pay for going under the screen to take away his driving lanes.

    For Parker, it was the right coach at the right time.

    "Timing is important," Engelland said, "because when you play in the NBA, you always think you're just going to keep getting better. [But] the NBA is hard, and then you plateau, and that timing is good [for fixing a shot]."

    And there was definitely some fixing to do.

    "In the first few years [of Parker's career], whenever he'd shoot it, I just figured it was going to be a turnover, same as a turnover -- there's no way that's going in," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "But in the last year and a half when he shoots it, I actually think it's going to go in, so he's changed me quite a bit. But that's due to his work and Chip Engelland, who's really worked hard on him."

    "Tony, even though he won a championship that year, wanted to get better," Engelland said. "That's where I give him a ton of credit. His summer time, he wanted to work at something he's not good at. That's uncomfortable."

    They had to start from the bottom up, and that required Engelland to establish trust with Parker before he could start working on his jumper. Former Spurs GM and current Cavs GM Danny Ferry said Engelland's patience with players is one of his greatest assets -- that he'd focus on developing the relationship so that players would trust his advice on fixing the shot.

    Parker's hard work is paying off big time for the Spurs.
    "We got to know each other first," Engelland said. "We did a lot of talking with him, where he wanted to go. Tony wants to be great. So [I said] what it takes -- he has to have a consistent jump shot and his free throw has to improve.

    "I think the most important thing, and this is true for every player, their shot is personal. Whether it's a 12-year-old girl or an [NBA player], it's their own shot. It's theirs, it's personal. When I talk to a player at any level ... I don't come in and disrespect their shot."

    That helps him establish a rapport with his pupils, and from there he can start tweaking. One of the key examples Engelland used to help Parker come to grips with rebuilding his jumper was Tiger Woods. Parker is a huge Tiger fan, and once he learned Tiger redid his whole swing after crushing the field in the Masters for his first major victory, that made Parker far more receptive to the idea of working on his own game.

    "It takes a lot of trust," Engelland said. "It's hard to want to get better at something."

    An important first step was getting Parker to abandon the 3-point shot. After going 8-for-45 on that shot in the 2005 postseason, perhaps it didn't require much convincing. Parker went from taking 153 3-pointers in the 2004-05 regular season to just 36 last season and 38 this season.

    Focusing on short jumpers, Engelland went to work on Parker: "We started with the basics, the very basics: balance, hand placement on the ball, follow through, what he watches, his target. He's done it great. He did a good job listening, practicing. It's not easy to do."

    One of the keys was changing Parker's thumb position on the ball. Engelland said when Parker shoots a floater -- something he does as well as anyone in the league -- his thumb is in the correct position, at nearly a right angle to the rest of his hand, so that he can keep control over the ball. But on his jumper, the thumb often was close by his fingers, and as a result the ball would frequently come off the side of his hand.

    Thanks to that fix and others like it, the results have been obvious, and not just in the last three games. Parker had never shot better than 33.3 percent on 3-pointers, or 75.5 percent on free throws before this season. This year those two numbers were way up -- 39.5 percent from downtown, albeit on fewer attempts, and an impressive 78.3 percent from the stripe.

    Dig a little deeper, and you'll see Parker's midrange game has improved, too. His percentages on 2-pointers that aren't layups, and on 2-pointers that are outside the key, have both improved under Engelland's tutelage (see chart).


    Tony Parker: Improvement by shot type

    ---------------- 2004-05 / 2005-06 / 2006-07 / CHANGE

    Free throw % /// 65.0 // 70.7 // 78.3 // +13.3
    Non-layup 2s % /// 36.8 // 39.7 // 40.8 // +4.0
    2-point jumper % /// 39.3 // 41.6 // 41.2 // +1.9
    2-point jumper att. /// 24 // 43 // 53 // 391 // +147
    3-point % /// 27.6 // 30.6 // 39.5 // +11.9
    3-point att. /// 153 // 36 // 38 // -115



    And this is despite the fact that he's attempting far more of both types of shots than he used to -- something that usually brings percentages down. In 2004-05, only 21.7 percent of his shot attempts were from that distance. But with his increasing confidence in his ability to knock the shot down, that increased to 31.1 percent last season and 35.8 percent this year.

    Parker's newfound consistency is turning the scouting report against him upside down. Previously, teams would dare him to shoot from outside and focus on taking away his drives to the basket. But his rebuilt shooting stroke has left opponents in a quandary.

    "Against Phoenix, they tried to do the same strategy," Parker said. "They put Shawn Marion on me and he was going under, and I start knocking down shots and then they have to come out. And that's when you penetrate again, and that's when you try to get back to the basket and get some stuff going for my teammates or for myself. The whole key is to make sure I shoot with confidence."

    So with Parker burning the Cavs from outside -- even throwing in a rare triple in crunch time to help hold off Cleveland -- Engelland was feeling like a proud parent after Game 3. "I'm happy for him," Engelland said. "I just like his consistency. ... He's just been solid in the playoffs. ... I think that's what coach Popovich wants -- he's so talented that he just wants for him to be consistent."

    Parker isn't Engelland's only client. Engelland got his start in the business working with ex-Spurs guard Steve Kerr -- "like being the Maytag repairman," Engelland joked -- and worked with Grant Hill and several Nuggets before coming to San Antonio. Since joining the Spurs, he's also helped rebuild the jumpers of two other historically wayward shooters who have had strong playoffs -- Fabricio Oberto and Jacque Vaughn.

    But his most famous client at this point is Parker, because he's shining on the league's biggest stage and brimming with confidence.

    "I feel a lot more comfortable," Parker said. "I think that's what one of my limits was, you know, early in my career. I always had, like, great games and then they'd adapt, and I don't think I was shooting well enough from the outside to be consistent in a series. I think the last two years, you know, all the work I put in with Chip, I feel very comfortable and I've got a lot more confidence to knock down that shot."

    He'd better get comfortable being an NBA Finals MVP, too. Because despite Parker's series-long protestations that this is Tim Duncan's team, his rebuilt jumper is about to put him in the history books alongside some of the game's greatest stars.

    John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Hmm, I wonder what the difference between a non-layup 2 and a 2pt jumper are?

    Anyway, as I was saying to Anthem in another thread, you can keep the middle open without having to go behind the arc. Mid-range jumpers have seemingly become a lost art (though for all I know the % and Attempt on them could be up in recent years, I haven't checked) but they are very effective in keeping defenses honest.

    Plus if you have a decent frontline it means shorter rebounds for them to go after than if you miss a 3 (typically).

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Along the same lines as this topic....I was watching some NBA TV spot recently about the Mavericks hiring a FT specialist to training and work with all their players to improve on their FT technique. This guy poured over tapes for each player and taught them how to properly shoot the ball during a FT...even adjusting bad habits that caused a player to miss a FT. The result? The Mavs are one of the best FT shooting teams in the league because of this guy.

    The lesson...as both these stories illustrate...is that little things like these...bringing in specialists....whether its a true "Big Man" trainer ( that can help a certain Hulklike player ) or shooting specialist....can make a difference. And what we learn in the playoffs...is that its the "little things" that make a difference.
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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Hmm, I wonder what the difference between a non-layup 2 and a 2pt jumper are?

    Anyway, as I was saying to Anthem in another thread, you can keep the middle open without having to go behind the arc. Mid-range jumpers have seemingly become a lost art (though for all I know the % and Attempt on them could be up in recent years, I haven't checked) but they are very effective in keeping defenses honest.

    Plus if you have a decent frontline it means shorter rebounds for them to go after than if you miss a 3 (typically).
    I think it would be a pretty good lesson for many of today's young players to look how drastically both Parker and Luol Deng have improved their games by simply not trying to do something they're don't do at a high-level (take threes).

    It's also notable that both DWade's and Rip realize this and don't even bother taking many threes. And they are probably the two best midrange guys in the League.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    Along the same lines as this topic....I was watching some NBA TV spot recently about the Mavericks hiring a FT specialist to training and work with all their players to improve on their FT technique. This guy poured over tapes for each player and taught them how to properly shoot the ball during a FT...even adjusting bad habits that caused a player to miss a FT. The result? The Mavs are one of the best FT shooting teams in the league because of this guy.
    Apparently the Pacers are in "cost cutting mode" or something but this is a very good idea that the team should really consider. People tend to forget to realize how important free throws really are. Very often the Pacers, or any other team for that matter will lose a game by lets say, 7 points, and miss 10 free throws, and these missed free throws aren't looked at, at least by the media, as something that directly caused the losing team to lose.

    We're in an NBA right now that worships athleticism and potential over skill. That's one of the reasons why there are less good shooters, and less good free throw shooters, out there. Everyone wants to drive to the basket like MJ but they aren't as good at it as MJ and they also don't possess his outside shot. A free throw coach like this could be a hell of a "secret" weapon.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd View Post
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    I think it would be a pretty good lesson for many of today's young players to look how drastically both Parker and Luol Deng have improved their games by simply not trying to do something they're don't do at a high-level (take threes).

    It's also notable that both DWade's and Rip realize this and don't even bother taking many threes. And they are probably the two best midrange guys in the League.
    Actually Rip has worked to add that shot to his game, but your point is still valid because he hasn't pushed up his attempts very much, and not at all while his % was still low. The better he got with it the more he was willing to use it.

    Yeah, both just punish people inside the arc. That's where Quis is to me and he also seems to know it, though his 3PA did jump up in Indy but still well below the "regular user" level.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd View Post
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    I think it would be a pretty good lesson for many of today's young players to look how drastically both Parker and Luol Deng have improved their games by simply not trying to do something they're don't do at a high-level (take threes).
    funny...i was at the park with my kids the other day, and a young man steps out on the court, and starts jacking up 3 pointers...missing every one of them.

    i started rebounding for him, and after a few misses, I asked him if he wanted some advice...he thought about it, and then walked over to me to listen more.

    I started him shooting layups, and then moved him out to about 10 ft. Then out to about 15 ft. He was canning them left and right. made WAY more than he missed.

    then I asked him which shot he thinks would give him more points at the end of the game...and he just smiled.

    Then I told him not to abandon the 3 pointer...but he needs to warm up with shorter range shots before he starts jacking up 3's. He stepped back out beyond the arc, and started hitting a few of them.
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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpacersfan View Post
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    Apparently the Pacers are in "cost cutting mode" or something but this is a very good idea that the team should really consider. People tend to forget to realize how important free throws really are. Very often the Pacers, or any other team for that matter will lose a game by lets say, 7 points, and miss 10 free throws, and these missed free throws aren't looked at, at least by the media, as something that directly caused the losing team to lose.

    We're in an NBA right now that worships athleticism and potential over skill. That's one of the reasons why there are less good shooters, and less good free throw shooters, out there. Everyone wants to drive to the basket like MJ but they aren't as good at it as MJ and they also don't possess his outside shot. A free throw coach like this could be a hell of a "secret" weapon.
    I agree that all teams need to employ expert shooting coaches (and I imagine they all do).

    But I think a key component to Parker's turnaround was this issue in the article of trust and he himself really being the one that wanted to remake his shooting stroke. I don't know that Jamaal or Marquis would show such a commitment (not basing anything on their personality, just mention those two because they could both use improvement).

    Or even moreso, someone like Shawn Marion. He's already a pretty good shooter, but I for one believe if he did a Tiger Woods-style reinvention of his entire form, he could be even better. But already having some success with his current form, (and his age would probably be a factor) I doubt he'd ever be even willing to consider it.

    In short, I think true buy-in from the player is imperative to the whole notion of improvement. And many guys probably feel like "I got myself this far, so why buy-in 100% to what some 'expert' is telling me to do?"

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd View Post
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    I agree that all teams need to employ expert shooting coaches (and I imagine they all do).

    But I think a key component to Parker's turnaround was this issue in the article of trust and he himself really being the one that wanted to remake his shooting stroke. I don't know that Jamaal or Marquis would show such a commitment (not basing anything on their personality, just mention those two because they could both use improvement).

    Or even moreso, someone like Shawn Marion. He's already a pretty good shooter, but I for one believe if he did a Tiger Woods-style reinvention of his entire form, he could be even better. But already having some success with his current form, (and his age would probably be a factor) I doubt he'd ever be even willing to consider it.

    In short, I think true buy-in from the player is imperative to the whole notion of improvement. And many guys probably feel like "I got myself this far, so why buy-in 100% to what some 'expert' is telling me to do?"
    i have thought about Marion using a coach as well, but his shot is SO odd, that I think if he tried to make any changes to it, it would mean sure disaster for his career...

    The fundamentals of his jump shot are worse that the fundamentals of Charles Barkley's golf shot...difference being that Marion's fundamentals work for him. Barkley sucks at golf. LOL.
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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    mark montieth blogged about the same topic recently, but i don't think the article was posted in pd. too bad chuck isn't staying as shooting coach.

    btw, i'm a fan of chip engelland

    http://blogs.indystar.com/pacersinsi...a_whose_t.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Montieth
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    An idea whose time has come
    Posted by Mark Montieth

    One of the Pacers’ off-season goals is to find a perimeter shooter. It’s a legitimate need, but it stops short of the ultimate issue. What they really need is to improve the shooters they already have, which means they need a shooting coach or two.

    I know exactly who they should hire.

    Make no mistake, Jim O’Brien lets his shooters shoot. Consider that O’Brien’s Boston team attempted 1,946 3-pointers in 2001-02, when it reached the conference finals, and 2,155 the following season. Then consider that the Pacers’ single-season record for attempted 3-pointers is 1,575 by the 2004-05 post-brawl team, and you get the idea of how far he's willing to go in his offense.

    O’Brien’s system with the Pacers probably won’t be as freewheeling as in his previous stops because they’re likely to have a legitimate low-post scoring threat _ if not Jermaine O’Neal, then Ike Diogu. He didn’t really have anyone like that in Boston or Philadelphia. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Pacers set a franchise record for 3-point attempts next season if they can find the qualified shooters. But what good is having a new weapons system if you don't have enough people who can use it.?

    Here’s who they have at the moment:

    * Jamaal Tinsley, who hit 37 percent of his 3-pointers in consecutive seasons, but has regressed the past two years. He hit 32 percent last season.

    * Mike Dunleavy, who hit 40 percent of his 3-pointers his third season in the NBA, but hit just 28 percent of his attempts after his trade to the Pacers last season.

    * Marquis Daniels, who is more a scorer than a shooter, but could advance his career significantly if he could knock down an occasional jump shot. He hit 23 percent of his 3-pointers last season.

    * Danny Granger, who showed improvement last season by hitting 38 percent of his 3-pointers, but still has flaws in his form.

    * Shawne Williams, who hit 37 percent last season, but has plenty of room _ and time _ to improve.

    Troy Murphy, who hit 40 percent of his 3-pointers with the Pacers last season, might be the only shooter whose shot should be left alone. The futures of Keith McLeod, Orien Greene and Darrell Armstrong are uncertain, but Greene in particular needs to improve. Greene, in fact, could save his career if he developed a dependable jump shot.

    The Pacers haven’t often hired coaching specialists, but it's hardly a revolutionary concept. This is the perfect time to do it. Chuck Person seemed to work successfully with some of the players a few years ago before he joined the bench as a fulltime assistant. Fred Jones and Tinsley both made dramatic improvements in their 3-point shooting percentages, and Person appeared to be at least partially responsible for that. They both later regressed, however, so it’s difficult to know where to assign credit or blame.

    It doesn’t appear that Person will be retained on the Pacers’ coaching staff, however, so who do they look to?

    Billy Keller and/or Rick Mount, that's who.

    Mount turned 60 in January and Keller turns 60 in August, but I’d bet on either of them in a high-stakes game of H-O-R-S-E with any of the current Pacers. Keller was the Indianapolis Star’s Indiana Mr. Basketball in 1965, Mount in ’66. They were the starting backcourt on Purdue’s NCAA tournament finalist in 1969. Both played for the Pacers.

    More relevant than all that, they’re both experienced and qualified shooting coaches. What’s to lose?

    Keller would love to do it. I believe Mount could be convinced, too. He has unhappy memories of his two seasons with the franchise and has kept his distance all these years. Donnie Walsh called him twice to invite him to the celebration honoring the state’s top 50 players when Conseco Fieldhouse opened in 1999, but he declined. This is an opportunity to bring him back into the fold. Just getting him in the building would be a start.

    Hiring Keller or Mount would be more than a great public relations gesture at a time the Pacers could use one. It makes perfect sense from a coaching perspective, too.

    In fact, it would be negligent not to give it a shot.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Hey, I responsed to Mark's blog about a couple of errors (Conseco opening in 97 and the 2000 team having the Pacers high mark of 3PAs) and he fixed them by the time you copied it Winter.

    Thanks for noticing Mark, I like the rework of the 3pt part since that wasn't just a digit change.


    I also would assume teams have shooting coaches around, but then I also assume Mark is around the team enough to know if they do or not, so him blogging about them looking at Keller/Mount tells me they don't. At least not of that caliber and at a very serious fundamentals level.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    I'm assuming Chuck will move back to his front-office role, which is what he was doing when he worked with Tinsley, Artest, and JO in the first place, so even if he's not sitting on the bench he can still help out this way.

    Especially since Rick decided not to stay in the front office...
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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
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    I'm assuming Chuck will move back to his front-office role, which is what he was doing when he worked with Tinsley, Artest, and JO in the first place, so even if he's not sitting on the bench he can still help out this way.
    I hope you are right about this.

    I liked Chuck. I don't see why he wasn't offered an assistant spot especially since we ended up with some average NAIA coach but whatever. We have Harter and Cooner so those two alone makes the staff pretty good IMO.

    But Tony Parker has done a great job of improving his game. If he can continue to play consistant umm the Spurs would be pretty much unstoppable. Parker is the most efficient scoring point in the league today. He can shoot the 3, hit the mid range j, or hit floaters and runners and such. I think Mike Bibby use to be the best all around scoring point guard but Parker has surpassed him this year with his jumper being even more improved.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    as far as keller and mount? i don't see why we shouldn't try everything to improve the shooting on this team. similarly, i'd like to see a big man coach (ESPECIALLY if we get bynum). what about a rik smits and dale davis tandem, since we probably can't lock up ewing or someone of that nature.
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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Hey, I responsed to Mark's blog about a couple of errors (Conseco opening in 97 and the 2000 team having the Pacers high mark of 3PAs) and he fixed them by the time you copied it Winter.
    i was going to update my post but i don't find any changes in mark's blog. maybe some staffer archived the older version?

    http://blogs.indystar.com/pacersinsi...a_whose_t.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    I also would assume teams have shooting coaches around, but then I also assume Mark is around the team enough to know if they do or not, so him blogging about them looking at Keller/Mount tells me they don't. At least not of that caliber and at a very serious fundamentals level.
    yeah, i thought of that too. but i don't think montieth would step on the toes of a current shooting coach, if there is one. mayhap there's a generic player development guy, but not a dedicated shooting coach as mark is suggesting nor a dedicated big man coach which a lot of pd'ers want.

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    Default Re: Great Article About Frenchie Improving Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
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    yeah, i thought of that too. but i don't think montieth would step on the toes of a current shooting coach, if there is one. mayhap there's a generic player development guy, but not a dedicated shooting coach as mark is suggesting nor a dedicated big man coach which a lot of pd'ers want.
    If it's true that we don't employ a shooting coach, then wow, I just don't even know what to say. That's just dumbfounding. What possible explanation could there be not to pony up (let's be ridiculously generous and say) $150,000 including benefits?

    Do we even have ball boys? Statisticians? Custodians? Pilots?

    Just kill me now.
    Last edited by JayRedd; 06-15-2007 at 10:16 PM.

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