Portland Trail Blazers: 3 areas to work on for Derrick Jones Jr.

Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers
Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The quickest path to stardom for Derrick Jones Jr. is to improve as an outside shooter

It’s frustrating when a player can’t seem to hit a three to save their life. On the one hand, it’s not exactly easy to be a marksman in the league with the weight of an entire NBA fanbase resting on your shoulders. On the other hand, shooting should be one of the simplest and easiest things to improve on for a baller.

Derrick Jones Jr. is in the top 99th percentile as an athlete, even in the greatest competitive basketball league in the world. No matter how hard other players work, they may never achieve DJJ’s blend of size, quickness, and natural explosiveness.

Some players will never have the coordination to become a true ball-handler no matter how many cones drills they perform.

Shooting threes, though? Any hooper should be able to become a reliable deep threat with enough practice.

There are mechanical issues in DJJ’s shot that if corrected, can make leeway in improving his consistency from deep.

Try to spot the differences in these two clips from the same matchup against the Brooklyn Nets. In the first video, a make, DJJ is squared, ready to shoot before he catches, and gets off a quick, clean release with his elbow nicely tucked next to his side.

In the second clip, Jones Jr. does not have his hands ready to catch and shoot, does not have his feet perpendicular to the rim, and has his elbow flared out on the release, resulting in a miss. He’d go on to miss six other triples that game.

It’s clear that DJJ can have an effective jump shot from distance, he just needs to hit that release with consistency. If his shot looks a lot more like the former clip next season than the latter, expect Jones Jr. to receive a lot more playing time.

In the NBA, if you’re tall and can regularly hit an open three, you’ll have a long career. DJJ has the first part down—let’s see if he can accomplish the second this offseason.

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