WASHINGTON -- There was a video earlier this season of Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson playing against the Wizards that went viral mainly because of the angle from which it was shot. Robinson was being defended by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and ran back and forth, finally getting open off a screen to knock down a 3-point shot.
That's what Robinson does for a living and from the usual camera angle of an NBA broadcast, it appears commonplace. But this video, captured from a courtside seat, did a good job of demonstrating just how difficult it is to get open in the NBA.
It was so impressive that it caught the attention of Wizards rookie Corey Kispert, who was selected 15th overall last summer largely because of his shooting and his ability to move without the ball. In that sense, he's a player in the mold of Robinson, though he hasn't reached the level of Robinson yet, as Robinson is one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA.
Kispert wants to get there, though, and believes that 12-second clip was a perfect example of what he would like to do more of himself.
"Moving without the ball is a learned skill and Duncan has pretty much mastered it. He’s able to create shots for himself just by being in the best shape possible and he has teammates who understand where he is on the floor and can get him open. It was an incredible video to watch and it inspired me, honestly, because that’s the level I want to be at," Kispert said.
"That’s what I want to do and it’s going to take a lot of time and a learning curve for me to get there. I’m kind of a mini-version of that right now. I run a ton, I’m in great shape. But that video that was captured courtside was really special. To see the control and confidence he has when he’s moving that fast, it just looked like a normal shot. There’s a bunch of little things you can pick apart about that video that are really special and that’s why Duncan is one of the best shooters in the league."
Kispert, 23, is off to a good start towards reaching his goals in the NBA. Last month, he set a Wizards franchise record for 3-pointers made in a rookie season, surpassing Bradley Beal's mark. He's shooting 34.4% from three on the year, but has been trending up consistently. Over his last 15 games, for instance, he's shooting 40% from deep on 6.0 attempts per game.
Kispert played four years in college and arrived in the NBA with an advanced understanding of moving without the ball, cutting and spacing. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. called that part of Kispert's game "unique for a young player." He added that Kispert not only stays in constant motion, he has a knack for moving with purpose and finding the next action in the Wizards' offense.
Hearing Kispert describe his reaction to the Robinson video gave insight into how he approaches his profession and particularly the science of shooting. He said he focuses on minute details in film study like how the ball feels coming off his hand, how it sounds going through the net and how hard the ball bounces off the rim on a miss.
"Those things clue me in a little bit into how I’m doing and how close I am to getting it right," he said.
In order to move like Robinson does, Kispert believes he needs to improve his flexibility this offseason. He plans to train in Arizona and incorporate hot yoga into his regimen.
Maybe someday he will inspire a young player just like Robinson did.