What a Time to Be a 5: Why NBA Bigs Are Launching More Threes Than Ever

December 27th, 2016 by Josh Martin Leave a reply »

Joel Embiid entered the NBA with the tools to rule the paint.

The arachnoid frame, with room to pack on mass. The footwork of a ballet dancer. The gliding strides of a gazelle. The soft touch on his shot. The hunger to improve, having only recently picked up basketball as a teenager in his native Cameroon.

But after missing what would've been his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers not once but twice on account of a tricky foot injury—and adding height and muscle to his body during that interminable wait—Embiid wanted more. He wanted to own the league inside and out.

This past summer, in preparation for his pro debut, Embiid enlisted the help of NBA skills trainer Drew Hanlen to sharpen his shot.

They hopped from gym to gym around Los Angeles, watching film of Hakeem Olajuwon and working the Dream Shake into Embiid’s repertoire. But by and large, Hanlen had Embiid, at 7'2" and a chiseled 250 pounds, study the game's greatest scoring wings—Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, among other subjects—to beco ...

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