One of the quickest players in college basketball, the thorn in Ishmael Smiths side has always been his shooting ability, converting a very poor 49% from the free-throw line this past season, a number nearly unheard of for a point guard. He likewise shot poorly from the field, at 22% from the three-point line with just a 44% True Shooting percentage. Coming into pre-draft training, Smith was well aware that he needed to fix his shot to have a chance in the NBA, and hes come here humbled and hard working, doing everything he can to improve.
Smiths shot required a lot more tweaking than Aminus, unsurprising given his previous results. Coach Hopla had multiple points of emphasis for Smith, namely keeping his elbow in, setting a consistent release point, and most of all, putting in a lot of repetition with the new mechanics in order to start overriding muscle memory. Even after the three-hour session completed, Smith spent more time working one-on-one with Hopla, fine-tuning his mechanics from the free-throw line.
In drills, things looked good for Smith early on, with him hitting 15-for-20 spot-up jumpers from the 15 foot range at one point, but as fatigue set in later in the workout, the results werent as good, and he struggled to maintain consistency. Reading too much into these results just three days into the training probably wont yield many useful insights, as its incredibly difficult to make so many changes in such a short period of time. The important thing to note is Smith is clearly putting in the work and understands what he needs to do to improve, even if it could be a very long process. A long-shot to be drafted at this stage, Smith should have chances at finding a way into the NBA this summer or down the road, and how he improves as a shooter will be critical in increasing those chances.