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NBA Combine: Shooting Drills

by Ed Isaacson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

After looking at the measurements and the agility testing, the third major component of the NBA combine is the shooting drills. Fewer players took part here than in the agility testing, but for those who do take part and perform well, it can be a good sign that teams will have increased interest. A point guard who can knock down the long-range jumper is becoming a bigger part of the game, as is the stretch power forward position, or stretch 4.

 

For those who did take part, there are five drills which make up the testing:

 

Spot up NBA 3 – spot up shots behind the three-point line;

 

Off Dribble Left, Right, Top 15 – Dribble jumpers from 15 feet;

 

On the Move College 3 and 15 feet – 35 seconds to attempt as many shots as possible from the chosen spot.

 

All players took part in the spot-up shooting drills, while some opted into and out of various non-stationary drills, often based on what position they play, or what their prior skill set is.

 

As in the other two columns, this is still just a limited view on the prospects, though shooting is an actual skill, and one that can translate well to the NBA game. 

 

 

Point Guards

 

Player Pos. Height Weight Spot Up NBA 3 Off Dribble 15 Left Off Dribble 15 Right Off Dribble 15 Top On the Move College 3 On the Move 15 Feet
Isaiah Cousins PG 6'4.5 194 68% 83.3% 83.3% 83.3% - 66.7%
AJ English PG 6'3 182.2 60% 50% 50% 100% 58.3% 58.3%
Kay Felder PG 5'9.5 177.2 52% 16.7% 66.7% 50% 70% 63.6%
Patrick McCaw PG 6'6.75 180.8 52% 66.7% 83.3% 50% 63.6% 66.7%
Marcus Paige PG 6'1.75 163.8 56% 66.7% 83.3% 83.3% - 80%
Gary Payton II PG 6'3 183.8 56% 33.3% 50% 33.3% 50% 54.5%
Melo Trimble PG 6'2.5 191.8 56% 33.3% 100% 66.7% - 63.9%
Isaiah Whitehead PG 6'4.5 210 48% 50% 66.7% 50% 62.5% 77.8%

*Wade Baldwin, Demetrius Jackson, Cat Barber, Kris Dunn and Tyler Ulis did not participate in shooting drills.

 

For the most part, the point guards who took part impressed with their shooting ability, both spot-up and on the move. Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins did well in both categories, including a strong 68 percent spotting up from NBA three-point range, as well as hitting most of his off the dribble and on the move shots. Only one point guard, Isaiah Whitehead, didn’t hit at least half of his spot-up threes, falling just short. AJ English also knocked down at least 60 percent of his spot-up NBA threes, but had mixed results in the other areas, comparatively. Patrick McCaw, Marcus Paige, Kay Felder and Melo Trimble also had their bright moments, other than the occasional slip-up off the dribble. Gary Payton II did well in the spot-up shooting, but as expected, he didn’t perform as well as the others when on the move.

 

 

Shooting Guards

 

Player Pos. Height Weight Spot Up NBA 3 Off Dribble 15 Left Off Dribble 15 Right Off Dribble 15 Top On the Move College On the Move 15 Feet
Ron Baker SG 6'4.25 212.4 64% 83.3% 83.3% 50% - 78.1%
Malcolm Brogdon SG 6'5.5 223 52% 33.3% 83.3% 66.7% 81.8% 81.8%
Josh Hart SG 6'5.5 203.6 60% 50% 50% 33.3% - 67.6%
Michael Gbinije SG 6'6.75 204.6 52% 50% 66.7% 50% 54.5% 63.6%
Sheldon McClellan SG 6'6.25 198.2 76% 66.7% 66.7% 83.3% - 86.1%
Malik Newman SG 6'3.5 182.2 60% 66.7% 83.3% 83.3% - 65.6%
Malachi Richardson SG 6'6.25 199.6 56% 66.7% 100% 50% - 64.3%

*Denzel Valentine, Wayne Selden, Buddy Hield, Malik Beasley and Caris LeVert did not take part in shooting drills.

 

As you’d expect, the shooting guards put up good spot-up numbers from NBA three-point range.  Every player taking part in the shooting drills hit at least half their three-point attempts from behind the arc, led by Sheldon McClellan’s very impressive 76 percent. On top of that, McClellan shined in the non-stationary shooting, putting up the best number on the move from 15 feet, and strong numbers off the dribble.

 

Wichita State senior Ron Baker also put up great numbers across the board, especially off the dribble on the wings. While Malcolm Brogdon didn’t fare as well from NBA three-point range, he was fantastic on the move from both the college three-point line and 15 feet, posting 80-plus percent in each. Malik Newman also showed very good shooting ability, hitting 60 percent from the NBA three, and over 65 percent of all the on the move and off the dribble drills. 

 

The duo from Syracuse, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson were a bit inconsistent, though their ability to hit shots on the move at their size will fare them well at the next level. If they can become better NBA long-range shooters, they could stick in the league for a long time. Villanova’s Josh Hart has never been known much for his perimeter shooting, but fared well enough that he may consider sticking in the draft instead of returning to school. 

 

 

Small Forwards

 

Player Pos. Height Weight Spot Up NBA 3 Off Dribble 15 Left Off Dribble 15 Right Off Dribble 15 Top On the Move College On the Move 15 Feet
De'Andre Bembry SF 6'5.75 206.6 48% 33.3% 50% 33.3% 60% 44.4%
Jarron Blossomgame SF 6'7.25 213.6 60% 50% 50% 100% 63.6% 63.6%
Dorian Finney-Smith SF 6'7.75 212.6 64% 33.3% 83.3% 83.3% - 66.7%
Daniel Hamilton SF 6'8 197.0 44% 50% 66.7% 100% 72.7% 72.7%
Nigel Hayes SF 6'7.25 245 60% 33.3% 66.7% 33.3% 60% 63.6%
Justin Jackson SF 6'8.25 193.4 48% 33.3% 83.3% 50% - 61.8%
Jake Layman SF 6'9.25 208.6 68% 33.3% 83.3% 83.3% 54.5% 81.8%
Taurean Prince SF 6'7.75 220.2 32% 66.7% 50% 66.7% - 52.9%
Troy Williams SF 6'6.75 217.8 68% 66.7% 66.7% 66.7% - 59.4%

*Jaylen Brown and Elgin Cook did not take part in the shooting drills.

 

The small forwards were a mixed bag across all areas. On the bright side, five of the group, Jarron Blossomgame, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nigel Hayes, Jake Layman and Troy Williams, hit 60 percent or better from NBA three-point range; however, the rest of the group all fell below 50 percent, including Taurean Prince’s disappointing 32 percent.

 

Off the dribble and on the move wasn’t much better, as a whole. Prince did fare much better inside the arc, though still showed some inconsistency. Other than Prince and Williams, the rest of the group hit 50 percent or less off the dribble from the left side. Daniel Hamilton performed very well in the other non-stationary shooting drills, as did Layman, including both being the only two players to top 70 percent on the move from 15 feet. Blossomgame and Williams were also the only two players to shoot 50 percent or better in all of the shooting drills.

 

De’Andre Bembry has never been a very good shooter from long-range, but he was expected to perform much better inside the arc. Nigel Hayes had some good moments on the move, but was shakier off the dribble. 

 

Power Forwards

 

Player Pos. Height Weight Spot Up NBA 3 Off Dribble 15 Left Off Dribble 15 Right Off Dribble 15 Top On the Move College On the Move 15
Ben Bentil PF 6'8.25 229.2 56% 83.3% 50% 50% - 66.7%
Joel Bolomboy PF 6'9 224.4 56% 83.3% 66.7% 66.7% 80% 72.7%
Robert Carter, Jr. PF 6'8.5 250.6 68% 83.3% 66.7% 33.3% - 60%
Cheick Diallo PF 6'9 218.6 40% 50% 50% 83.3% - 46.9%
Perry Ellis PF 6'8.25 217.8 40% 33.3% 83.3% 33.3% - 78.1%
Dedric Lawson PF 6'8 224.8 48% 83.3% 66.7% 100% - 64.7%
Marcus Lee PF 6'10.25 211 44% 0% 50% 50% - 41.4%
Isaiah Miles PF 6'7.75 219.6 52% 50% 83.3% 50% - 69.7%
Georges Niang PF 6'8.5 230.8 80% 100% 66.7% 33.3% - 73.3%
Pascal Siakam PF 6'9.5 226.6 48% 50% 16.7% 16.7% - 46.9%
Caleb Swanigan PF 6'8.5 246.6 60% 66.7% 100% 50% - 62.5%
Jared Uthoff PF 6'9.75 214.4 60% 66.7% 100% 83.3% - 68.8%
Kyle Wiltjer PF 6'10 242.8 76% 66.7% 33.3% 100% - 84.4%

*Marquese Chriss, Deyonta Davis, Henry Ellenson, Thon Maker and Brice Johnson did not take part in the shooting drills.

 

As I mentioned in the post on the agility drills, the power forwards are a tough group to analyze as a whole since they fall into a couple of different distinct types of player. The stretch 4’s you would expect to be able to hit consistently from the NBA three-point line, while the lengthy athletes and classic power forwards may all have different skills based on how they played in college. As may be expected, Kyle Wiltjer and Georges Niang shined in the shooting drills, with both hitting at least 76 percent from NBA three-point range. Robert Carter, Jr. also looked good from behind the arc, especially since he is built like the classic bruising power forward. Two others, Caleb Swanigan and Jared Uthoff hit at least 60 percent from behind the arc. Only a handful of guys shot below 50 percent, all somewhat expected.

 

The off-the-dribble and on-the-move numbers were respectable, especially since many of these guys rarely shot anything more than a spot-up shot in college. The one player who opted for the on-the-move from the college three-point line, Joel Bolomboy, shot well, and all performed well at 15 feet, other than lesser-skilled Marcus Lee and Cheick Diallo. Bolomboy shot much better across the board than was probably expected, and Niang and Wiltjer performed as likely expected, with some minor slip-ups. Pascal Siakam didn’t have many bright moments, shooting 50 percent in only one of his five drills.

 

 

Centers

 

Player Pos. Height Weight Spot Up NBA 3 Off Dribble 15 Left Off Dribble 15 Right Off Dribble 15 Top On the Move College On the Move 15 Feet
Damian Jones C 6'11.5 243.6 60% 50% 16.7% 83.3% - 58.1%
Chinanu Onuaku C 6'10 245.2 32% 33.3% 66.7% 50% - 57.6%
Zhou Qi C 7'2.25 218.2 56% 33.3% 33.3% 66.7% - 62.1%

*Jakob Poeltl, Stephen Zimmerman and Diamond Stone did not take part in shooting drills.

 

Only three centers remained for the shooting portion of the testing, which isn’t unusual for the big men.  Damian Jones and Zhou Qi impressed with the ability to knock down the spot-up three, as well as having some bright spots on the move and off the dribble. Chinanu Onuaku didn’t fare as well from NBA three-point range, but was able to show some ability when on the move. One disappointment was not seeing Stephen Zimmerman take part, as I think it was an area where he could have separated himself a bit from the others.

 

The NBA is all about being able to shoot the ball now, and not being able to, from almost any position, is a likely sign that a player may not be long for the league. It’s important to not get too discouraged with the NBA-range numbers for a lot of these players, especially the forwards, as many of really just been working on it for six to eight weeks since their seasons ended.

Ed Isaacson
Ed Isaacson is in his second year of covering the NBA Draft for Rotoworld.com, while his work can also be found at NBADraftblog.com. Follow him on Twitter at @nbadraftblog.