The Portland Trail Blazers have been wildly inconsistent through the early 2021-2022 NBA season. They’ve either blown some very talented opponents out of the water, or lost ugly against some frustratingly beatable challengers. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s holding the Blazers back, but shooting can pretty much be chalked up as one of the most pressing concerns. Former Juniata College star and renowned shooting coach Roger Galo takes the time to break down some of the good and the bad from what he’s seen from the Blazers snipers so far.
Galo earned his credentials while playing Division-III ball, winning team MVP for the Eagles in his freshman year. He went on to play four years at Juniata, earning all-MAC conference honors his senior season and is still the second leading scorer in all of Eagles history.
Now, Galo has taken his talents to coaching, impassioned to share his shooting knowledge with the world, including some NBA, G-League, international, and collegiate hoopers.
Breaking down Portland Trail Blazers shooters with Coach Roger Galo
His next challenge? He tries to identify exactly what’s wrong with Damian Lillard‘s usually ethereal long-range accuracy.
Before delving into Dame’s struggles from 3-point land this season, Galo discussed some of the improvements he’s witnessed in the Blazers’ young stars.
Nassir Little has corrected his form and its paying off in bunches
While his effort and defense are his current moneymakers, his improvements as a complementary shooter has made it much easier for Head Coach Chauncey Billups to keep him on the court.
Coach Galo breaks down just exactly what has led to Little having already hit eight threes this season, at an impressive 42 percent clip:
"He’s doing a better job at limiting his variables — his right hand and arm has improved and there doesn’t appear to be as much hesitation as before, which is reflective of his confidence and we all know how much confidence plays into shot-making."
You can see exactly what Coach Galo is addressing in these two clips — the former coming in an 0-4 night from deep against the Minnesota Timberwolves in March, and the latter coming from the Blazers blowout victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, when Little went 2-3 from beyond the arc.
Nas has done a fantastic job shortening his shooting motion, from a jolted, catapult release into a singular smooth motion. He now shoots straight up and down, removing the unnecessary backwards fade that sometimes accompanied a wide-open attempt. The most noticeable difference is his confidence, likely drawn from the belief he has in the work he’s put into improving his jump shot.
"It is also evident that he’s shooting a little more in rhythm which is often times helpful, of course."
Despite being more contested in the second clip, Little knew he was shooting it before he even caught the ball, had his hands ready for the catch, and fired away without a second thought.
Having these off-ball actions drawn up to get Nas open looks from deep should only continue to build his confidence and rhythm, resulting in an expedited development of his deep shooting.