The Boston Celtics made some significant changes heading into the 2017-2018 season, as did their probable sixth man Marcus Smart.
Marcus Smart, like any basketball player dedicated to honing their craft, spent his offseason in the gym. Videos of a noticeably skinnier Smart working on his game began to emerge, and fans got hyped seeing them.
He looked lighter, quicker, and more explosive.
Smart later confirmed on media day that he had lost 20 pounds getting ready for the season, per Jay King. Smart believes that the weight loss will allow him to keep his energy level high throughout the game, which will allow him to keep up with zippy guards like John Wall for longer stretches of time.
#SkinnySmart went viral.
Smart’s body wasn’t the only thing he had worked on heading into this season, however. The news of Smart’s weight loss seemingly overshadowed the fact that Smart finally doctored his jump shot.
More from Hardwood Houdini
Smart’s shooting has been the big question mark surrounding his game for the last several seasons. While he’s been impactful despite woeful shooting from deep, an improved jump shot would help launch Smart into the upper-echelon of NBA players.
This time last year, Jared Weiss wrote extensively on Smart’s flawed shooting mechanics.
He argued that Smart’s tragic conversion rate from deep was the result of an exaggerated dip at the beginning of his shot. That is, upon catching the ball, Smart would dip the ball below his waist and away from his body. This essentially threw off the timing of Smart’s shot, which then upset an ideal transfer of momentum, forcing Smart to adopt an awkward catapult-like hitch to compensate for lost power. Despite sometimes catching fire from deep, the disjointed nature of Smart’s form made it inherently hard to replicate.
Check out the above video. In the few instances where Smart launches threes off the catch, he clearly dips the ball down below his waist, then pushes it out and away from his body as he brings it up above his head. The result of which is a jump shot that has a lot of room for error.
After this summer, however, Smart has seemingly rectified the issue.
He still dips the ball below his waist, but he’s worked to bring the ball closer to his body, resulting in a jump shot that is more balanced and easier to consistently knock down.
Smart’s new jump shot has only been showcased in a few preseason games, yet it already looks much better. His new form’s lesser range of motion seemingly improves his balance when shooting, also allowing for a more economical transfer of momentum, making his shot much more maintainable overall.
Through four preseason games, Smart is shooting roughly 58 percent from beyond the arc, converting seven of 12 shots from deep. Even though it’s a very small sample size, the results are promising nonetheless.
The Boston Celtics open their season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 17th. Whether Smart can maintain his shooting will be weighing on the mind of all Boston fans.