There's probably an infinite number of ways to shoot a basketball. You've got your exotic types like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You've got your shot-putters like Shaq. You've got your unconventional, but effective types like Jack Sikma and Keith Wilkes. And you've got your textbook, pretty-as-they-come types like Ray Allen.
But for the most part, you've really got just two types, the pushers and the flingers. Michael Jordan pushed it, Larry Bird flung it. Neither way is better or worse. There even may be some half-pushers and half-flingers out there. But the hallmarks of the two shots are easily identifiable.
Pushers start with the ball in front of their face, maybe raise it to forehead level or even a tad higher, and then push the ball forward with their forearm and wrist. Flingers, on the other hand, start with the basketball off to the side of their head, and then launch it forward using their entire arm almost like a throw.
Rondo's been more flinger than pusher. For most of his career in Boston, he's shot his jumper just like he shoots his free throws, with his shooting arm off to the side. Occasionally, he has put the ball in front of his face when he's taking a jumper, instead of off to the side. I believe he's taking the latter approach in this video. Even then, the shot is still mostly fling.
But at the start of the pre-season this year, Rondo was attempting to become a pusher. He held the ball in front of his face and a good three inches above his head. Although his long arms still gave the shot a fling kind of flavor, it was clear he was attempting to transform his shot into something that more closely resembled the shot used by his teacher, Mark Price, a classic pusher.
Last night Rondo returned to the flinger of old, only he was bricking more shots than usual. I know most of you don't think he can shoot to begin with, but I don't recall him bricking as many shots as he has recently. By the end of the game, however, he started to get some rhythm back to his game, and that seemed to help his shot. Will Rondo continue experimenting with his shot? Perhaps. But they will be minor tweaks to his form de fling. I don't think we'll see him use the Mark Price jumper again.
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- 1971-72 Lakers
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