Far gone are the days where an NBA player’s offensive game could be built on standing a couple of feet from the basket, waiting for a pass, and chucking up an uncoordinated shot that looks more like watching a crappy middle school pickup game. If you want to stay in the NBA, it is a good thing, no it is VITAL for a player to have some kind of jumper. If you are known as a guy who always drives to the hoop, your defender doesn’t need to guard you as tightly farther away from the basket. When a player has a shot, it stretches the defense farther than fresh silly putty.
With the rise of a more “formal” basketball education and coaching, kids learn from an early age, how to properly shoot a jumper. B.E.E.F. (Balance, elbows, eyes, follow through) is a common way that kids are taught how to shoot. However, even in this era of scientific, almost mechanical shooting forms, there still exists some outliers.
You have the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Some of these shots are so damn ugly that they make me want to hurl. So without further ado, these are the top 5 ugliest shots in the history of the NBA.
5. Joakim Noah
No disrespect to Joakim Noah, he was the heart and soul of Thibbs’ Bulls, Rose may have been the face and star, the Noah was the guy who played his heart out, day in, day out. However watching Joakim shoot a jumper makes me gag.
When the former Florida big man decides to to show off his range, he squats, releases the ball from his chest with both hands, and follows through with his legs and arms spread in a fashion that looks like a starfish flying away. It is an ugly and reliable shot, that needs to be retired ASAP.
4. Matt Bonner
Matt, as a fellow New Englander and redhead, I hate to put you on this list. This jumper though looks more like Randy Barnes hucking a shot put. (For 99% of my readers, Barnes is the current world record holder in shot put. If you don’t think shot is impressive, you try throwing a 16-pound ball over 75 feet, then come talk to me). Bonner leans forward, takes the ball and fires it almost one handed his other arm awkwardly over his head.
This shot is ugly, but holy cannoli, the man makes it work. The Red Rocket shot 41% from behind the arc for his career, he even managed to make it to the final round of the 2013 3pt contest. He may have lost to Kyrie, but he managed to outshoot 2X MVP, Stephen Curry. It may have been ugly to look at, but hell, it was efficient.
3. Tayshaun Prince
The 2004 Pistons were an amazing team, they managed to win a ring and Prince was a huge part of that campaign. However, I bet Detroit was glad to have Hamilton and Billups to launch shots from behind the arc because you could not have relied on Tayshaun to knock shots down from 3pt land.
When you watch him shoot, his form is more out of line than my life is at this point. His eyes are the only thing squared up to the hoop. His shooting arm juts out at an unnatural angle so that his shooting form resembles your drunk cousin trying to form the “Y” as he tears up the dance floor to “YMCA” at your wedding. He won a championship and played lockdown defense, but he could never “lock” his shot down.
2. Shawn Marion
Oh come on, you think that I would make a list like this and NOT include the godfather of strange shots? Shawn Marion may have the most famous shot of all time, it is not famous for being beautiful and efficient ala Ray Allen or unstoppable like Dirk’s jumper. Do I even need to describe it? Marion takes the ball and flicks it from his chest more akin to a chest pass, yet somehow puts a good amount of arc on his shot. It is strange, it is unorthodox, and it is uniquely his. Hey with a strange jumper, the man managed to stretch out a productive career.
1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
If Shawn Marion is the godfather of ugly and strange shots than MKG is the Chosen One. Now if you have read my other works, you know that the Hornets are my team, but my bias does not give me the ability to overlook this ugly and almost cringe-worthy shot. As a basketball purist, it physically pains me to see Kidd-Gilchrist take a jumper anywhere further than 5 feet from the basket. Let me state right now when I refer to Michael’s “shot” I am referring to his form from before the 2015 season, not the changed form that I will discuss later.
The shot itself is a work of art if you consider and can appreciate abstract art. When I first saw a picture of his shooting form, I thought to myself, “This has to be photoshopped. There is no way he can actually shoot like this.” He turns his body perpendicular to the basket, raises his shooting arm, parallel to his chest forming an unworldly triangle. I have seen his shot from about 15 feet away, and let me tell you, it was nasty enough to make my toes curl in disgust. His entire body was just loose like cooked spaghetti. A few possessions later, Ben Gordon popped off a 3 and it made the difference night and day. The practiced and perfected release, his body all in line, the smooth follow through.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist knows he is not a 3pt shooter, in the past 5 seasons, he has only made 7 of them, taking 34 total. Seeing him actually connect on a 3 is like seeing a unicorn but rarer. 50% of his shot attempts come within 3 feet of the basket. What I really feel like his problem is, his confidence in his shot. All of these lists and articles write on how ugly and messed up his shot is. How it is the “Worst” in the NBA.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has something that all of these other guys don’t have. He is young and full of potential, at only 23 he has many years ahead of him in the NBA. Along with that, I have never seen someone change their shot as much as MKG, the Hornets former shooting coach Mark Price, worked with him tirelessly on his shot. You can visibly see the improvement in his shooting. Don’t believe me? Check the stats, he has been taking more shots from 10+ feet out than before and shooting 39% from that distance. We also forget how Kidd-Gilchrist had shoulder surgery and then went on to have his season ended by a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
I wrote this article because I got sick and tired of seeing these articles just dismantling Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot, that is why I chose to differentiate his pre-2014 shot, to his shot today. The kid is a promising player, who I believe as a Hornets fan and as a basketball enthusiast, that Kidd-Gilchrist will create his own, unique, and reliable jumper. So if somehow you are reading this MKG, Buzz City has your back and we believe.