The shot got me thinking about the players with the most recognizable shots in the NBA. I was going to say the "most unique"* shots, but my high school English teacher would have a conniption if I did that.
*In short, the phrase "most unique" is improper because unique things are, by definition, one-of-a-kind. Therefore, you can't add a superlative to "unique" because something can't be the most one-of-a-kind. There's only one of that particular kind. (Language police siren blaring.)
Dirk's fadeaway has definitely cracked the pantheon of all-time great shots. And we could easily rattle off others, like Gervin's finger roll and Kareem's sky hook.
But what are the most recognizable shots in the league today? I've taken a stab at breaking that down, position-by-position. When watching video of each of these shots, NBA fans would be able to easily identify the player, even if that player was represented by just a silhouette of himself. (Click on each link to watch video of the shot.)
1. Point Guard: Stephen Curry's Pull-up Jumper
|(Photo via pressdemocrat.com)|
The second reason Curry's pull-up is so wonderful is his amazingly quick release. He gets his shot up in a nanosecond, whether he's working off the dribble or on spot-up attempts. Even Borat would approve of Curry's pull-up J.
Honorable Mention: Chris Paul's Teardrop and Tony Parker's Floater
2. Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade's Euro Step Runner
Honorable Mention: Jamal Crawford's rain-making jumper
3. Small Forward: Shawn Marion's Push Shot
Honorable Mention: LeBron James's Dunks (All of them -- You know how to use YouTube, right?)
4. Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki's Fadeaway
Honorable Mention: Kevin Garnett's Turnaround Jumper
5. Center: Tim Duncan's Bank Shot
When Timmy ("Teemy," to Tony Parker) faces up for a midrange jumper, odds are good that he plans on using the glass. He barely even jumps, but he plays backboard angles better than any center during my lifetime. Like the other shots on this list, Duncan's banker is a pretty thing to watch.
Honorable Mention: Al Jefferson's Right-handed Hook Shot (and all of its various counters)
One last note: All of the guys on this list -- with the possible exception of Curry -- would be considered well-seasoned veterans. We could even label most of them as old. Are there any young guys working on their own patented shots right now?
In watching the NCAA Tournament over the last few days, I've noticed the relative homogeneity of college players' shots. Almost every jumper looks similar, especially on the major-conference teams. Let's hope that the proliferation of youth coaching hasn't limited the creativity of players to develop unique shots. Because whether we're talking about the beauty of Dirk's fadeaway or the ugliness of Marion's jumper, the existence of immediately-recognizable shots is one reason the NBA is so great.
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