While the debate on Josh Jackson’s jump shot will likely rage on straight through the Sixers pick, Jayson Tatum is doing his best to lay to rest any concerns about his shot.
Tatum has been preparing to audition for NBA teams in pre-draft workouts by training with skills coach Drew Hanlen, also known as the guy Joel Embiid dunked on in an empty gym last summer.
Hanlen posted a video on his Instagram of Tatum knocking down 18 three-pointers in a row from NBA distance, and pointed out the 19-year-old’s restructured jump shot.
Here’s what Tatum’s form looked like in a similar spot-up situation back in January:
The upper-half of his body has definitely made some notable changes. Tatum had a tendency to rock backwards when he was shooting, and in the video posted by Hanlen he looks much more vertical.
His shot also looks more compact than it did when he was at Duke. Tatum’s old form had him reaching the ball back over his head before launching in a movement that almost resembled a catapult. Now he seems to be doing a better job of getting the ball in front of his face and tightening his release point.
Every year these pre-draft videos come out, and people are amazed what these freakish athletes are able to do in non-game situations in an empty gym. While it’s impressive he made every shot, it’s worth noting he’s also taking a ton of time to get these shots up (notice that dip around his stomach every time he catches the ball). It doesn’t necessarily look like he’s ready to debut this refined jumper in an NBA game anytime soon.
The slow pace may be because he’s still getting used to the new mechanics in his shot, but old habits tend to die hard, and it’s always possible Tatum could revert to his previous ways when confronted with the speed of the NBA game.
Furthermore, while the upper half of his body may have undergone some corrections, he still looks stiff as a board when shooting. His lower half still strikes me as being particularly awkward looking and unnatural.
This new look jumper certainly won’t stop people from calling into question the validity of his outside game, although it’s hopefully a step in the right direction.
The Sixers decision between selecting Jackson and Tatum could very well come down to who they think has the better chance of becoming a strong perimeter shooter.