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Reinventing Your Game


Never stop getting better


We have a tendency to typecast players as they develop their forte within the game. Although this can be helpful as a starting point, it sometimes also prevents players from exploring other aspects of their game. As a few NBA stars have shown us, expanding your game to include previously unimaginable aspects can be the key to longevity.


The most obvious example of this comes from pure shooters and slashers. These two categories often interchange as their games mature. For slashers, the ability to hit the open midrange pull-up will save your body from a lot of pounding, especially since your defender is likely to back off. Whether your drives rely more on agility and guile, akin to Monta Ellis, or strength and power, as with Rodney Stuckey, it is undeniably beneficial to add the outside jumper to your game.


For shooters, defenders often close out on them early or stick to them tight in off-ball situations. By learning how to slash, you force the defender to give you some space, where you can unleash your jumper. Even if you are not adept at finishing at the rim, you will have opportunities to earn easy points at the free throw line or to utilize a floater to avoid the bigs. Austin Rivers and Jeremy Lamb have incorporated these into their games in recent times.   


Of course, more drastic changes can be helpful as well. Some of the biggest changes you can make in basketball are between the perimeter and the paint. The hulking Brook Lopez used to be one of the best low-post scorers in the NBA, using his combination of size and touch to leave defenders helpless and rarely stepping out beyond the low post area. Today, he has maximized his shooting touch to become the tallest three-point marksman in the League in terms of both accuracy and range, using his height to get off easy shots over shorter defenders.


The legendary Michael Jordan adopted the opposing approach, moving from the perimeter to the post. Over the course of his career, he bulked up and began to rely on his deadly fadeaway jumpers instead of his swooping drives to the basket. This allowed him to thrive and score in volumes even into his 40s, displaying the virtues of reinventing your game.