Lebron James can dominate a game in every aspect with his unbelievable physical abilities. And KD is long, quick and can hit from everywhere. All NBA superstars are obviously almost unguardable and young hoopers always strive to be like them. But what if you can’t?
What if you’re not a natural born superstar and will never reach that level of talent?
The answer is: You strive to be Shaun Livingston. And I’ll explain why.
What up everybody my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
For 5 years Golden State have been loaded but there’s always been a spot for Shaun Livingston. Despite their apparent love for the 3 point shot and him going a staggering 2 for 17 throughout these years.
On THE team that revolutionized shooting. And you know why? Because he is money from midrange. That’s the one thing that he does offensively, and he is excellent at it. I even feel like he is limited by his shot mechanics so he can’t even shoot further out. But look at these percentages, he is 50% or better in each and every one of his years with the Warriors.
And before you go look up his stats and tell me that his highest scoring average with them has been 6 and a half points, and that he doesn’t shoot a lot… That’s exactly my point.
Pick your spot, master it, and then through shot selection always be highly efficient.
The team knows at any moment what to expect from him. Combine that with some nice defense and I can absolutely see why he’s been a constant member of the second unit.
Hey he’s got 3 championships and is playing in his 15th NBA season.
Let me give you another example. Everyone sees the crazy stepback threes that James Harden is able to make, and his unbelievable handles that cause oohs and aahs from the crowd.
And you may never be as talented as him to do all that. So if you already have a guy like that on your team, just help them out by being P.J. Tucker. The guy loves the corner 3 and is shooting above 40% from both the left and the right side. And it makes sense. Playing with guys like Harden and CP3 he can just camp out in the corner like a sniper and wait for his opportunity off the double team. No need for fancy dribbles, behind the back passes, nothing.
Young fellas, just shoot 500 corner threes a day, perfect it, and there will always be a team that wants you. Oh yeah, again, even more so than Livingston, P.J. Tucker is very much known for his defense. And this is where I focus on a few specialists.
You all know them, and you may have gotten frustrated numerous times by them not being able to hit a shot, but maaan guys like Patrick Beverley, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and most obvious of them even tho he’s not playing at the moment is Andre Roberson.
He is a notoriously bad shooter but has always played heavy minutes with the Thunder because of his ability to lock down players. And let me tell you: To me 65% of a good defender goes to just wanting to play defense, and taking pride in stopping the opposing player.
Sure you have guys like Kawhi and Paul George with the perfect bodies for good defenders, but when I look at the guys I previously mentioned, all I see is dogs. Fighting hard and giving 110% on every defensive possession. And if you do that, there will definitely be a spot on a team for you, even in the worst case scenario if you shoot like Andre Roberson.
Imagine that, just focusing on defense and nothing else- how far that could take you.
But ok let’s get back to the other end of the court. It’s been guard heavy so far. So what if you’re a big man? Tyson Chandler’s fight to always get the rebound and provide extra possessions have allowed him to have a 17 year career mostly as a starter and an NBA title. The most iconic thing about him is probably his signature move of just tapping out the basketball when he can’t grab the ball. And even more than Chandler, who at least has the length, there are guys like Kenneth Faried and Montrezl Harrell who have unmatched levels of energy and effort.
They get rebounds as well as points, strictly off of their will to overpower the opponent and get to the ball first. I am so glad when I see guys like that who work extremely hard, and despite everything that they lack in talent, they find a way to be successful and help their team.
I can go on and on with specific skill sets like these. But the most important thing for you as a young hooper, or even just as a basketball fan watching NBA games is to understand that you don’t have to have handles like Kyrie, or shoot from anywhere like Curry, or be the most powerful player like Lebron. Basketball is a team sport, and a player can contribute and be a valuable piece of the puzzle by just focusing on 1 specific thing and mastering that.
I really hope that you were able to get a different perspective on things and players in the league. And for the ones trying to keep their hoop dream alive, I hope that you can use some of this to become a better player yourself.