Back before the season started, we all marveled at Jamal Crawford calmly explaining how this summer was the first time he’d ever worked on his game at any level. As a 32-year-old who has played 12 seasons, it was just amazing that he wouldn’t have encountered a coach somewhere who would have told him the importance of practicing and convinced him of its efficacy.
Guess not though, because not practicing is apparently the coolest thing in NBA circles. Just take Evan Turner, for instance. He’s knocking down threes twice as often as last season (currently shooting 44 percent while making 0.8 threes per game, as compared to 0.2 per game at 22 percent last year), and he says it’s because he doesn’t practice them any more. From CSNPhilly.com:
“Not working so hard on it,” he said before scoring 26 points in last Friday’s 95-94 victory over Boston, including the winning basket with 3.9 seconds left in overtime.
“I stopped focusing on it,” he said. “That was it. I stopped focusing on it. I worry about my mid-range [game], my driving and my free throws, and that’s it. Honestly, I don’t shoot threes before games. I don’t practice threes anymore.” [...]
To hear him tell it, he did try to work on his three-point shooting over the summer.
“But,” he said, “I wasn’t hitting them. After a while you say, ‘Never mind.’ I just kept working on my mid-range game. I think the more important thing is just to be in a good rhythm.”
There is an important story to learn here, children — if you ever try to do something really hard and can’t do it, just quit, because you’ll eventually figure it out on accident. At least that’s what I think Evan Turner is saying here.
It’s kind of antithetical to the whole “Work hard to get better” school of coaching that literally every coach except for Chubbs from “Happy Gilmore” has employed, but it seems to be working. Turner has already made more threes this season (16) than in either of his first two seasons (14 and 11), he’s shooting a better percentage than guys like Kyle Korver and Steve Novak, and pretty soon defenses might actually bother to guard him when he’s wide-open in the corner, where he’s made 13 of his 16 threes. This not practicing thing has really paid off in spades for Evan Turner.
But what if he starts missing? You’d think he’d want to practice in order to get his shot back, but that’s against his whole thinking right now. So I guess if he starts bricking threes again, he’ll just double up on not practicing and start focusing exclusively on non-jumper shots while taking layup after layup in practice in order to trick himself in to being a good shooter? It doesn’t make sense to me or Jamal Crawford, but maybe Evan Turner is on to something. I mean, he wouldn’t be the first Sixers guard to understand the benefits of not practicing.