Catching up with James Posey
BY TOM GROESCHEN • TGROESCHEN@ENQUIRER.COM
• JANUARY 13, 2011
James Posey is proud of his two NBA championship rings. The former Xavier University basketball star also could make some unique NBA history this season.
Posey, a forward for the Indiana Pacers, is on pace to rank No. 1 in NBA history in single-season percentage of shot attempts beyond the 3-point arc - 87.5 percent. Of Posey's 184 field-goal attempts, 161 have come from 3-point range. James Jones of Miami is right on Posey's heels, having taken 87.3 percent of his attempts from 3-point range entering the Heat's game at Denver Thursday night.
According to Basketball- Reference.com, the NBA season record for highest percentage of field goal attempts shot from 3-point range is 76.0 percent by Damon Jones of Cleveland in 2007-08. The percentage is based on at least four field-goal attempts per game.
"It's crazy, just thinking about it," Posey said. "Shooting 3s is something I had to work on because I wasn't a great shooter coming out of college. I guess I'm considered a 3-point shooter now."
The 6-foot-8, 217-pound Posey was taken by Denver with the 18th pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. The Pacers are Posey's seventh NBA team in a career that includes championships with Miami (2006) and Boston (2008).
Posey has averaged 8.7 points per game for his career, and 5.5 per game this season. He started for much of his early pro career but has been almost exclusively a reserve the past five years.
Posey never was afraid to launch a 3-pointer, but doing that and playing defense are his primary roles now, in his 12th NBA season.
"A great percentage of guys come in and they don't last very long," Posey said. "I didn't want to be in and out. I didn't want to be that guy."
Posey, a Cleveland native who turned 34 on Thursday, said his NBA longevity is due to a combination of things.
"Working hard, eating right, weight-lifting, training in the offseason," he said. "That and getting a lot of rest. That's key."
Asked to list the best players he has seen, Posey starts with the usual suspect.
"Michael Jordan," he said. "I played against him when he was at the end (of his NBA career), with Washington, but he was still Michael Jordan. Just to be on the same floor with him was crazy. All I could do was ask for his shoes at the end of the game."
Posey lists more, from Kevin Garnett to Shaquille O'Neal to Alonzo Mourning. Antonio McDyess, Dwyane Wade and Gary Payton also make his list.
"I've been coached by Pat Riley, Doc Rivers, Hubie Brown," he said. "Just thinking about some of the guys I've played with and the coaches I've had, I can't ask for anything more."
Posey is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but his time in the NBA might not be over soon. He is shooting a respectable 32.9 percent from 3-point range, compared to his career average of 35.0 percent.
How good is 35 percent? Consider that Larry Bird shot 37.6 percent from 3-point range, and Reggie Miller shot 39.5 percent. All-time percentage leader Steve Kerr made 45.4 percent of his 3-point attempts.
"You have to play with confidence," Posey said. "My teammates keep encouraging me, my coaches keep encouraging me. I've been blessed for the most part to have a healthy career. Hopefully it continues for a while."