The season is nearing its end, and Danté Exum is looking more and more comfortable with his shot. The Charlotte Hornets received a classic beat down at the EnergySolutions Arena, losing 66-94 to a Jazz team who were, for lack of a better word, splendid.
Splendid. The Utah Jazz shot an amazing 62.5% from downtown, and tied the franchise record for three-pointers made (15). Exum kicked off the mass bombing by hitting consecutive 3s in the first quarter.
[gfycat data_id="HighlevelArtisticJuliabutterfly" data_expand=true data_autoplay=true] It then snowballed with Gordon Hayward's long bombs, then Trey Burke and even Elijah Millap chipping in. Granted the team missed shots, but they scored nothing but three-pointers from 7:57 in the first quarter, up until 10:12 of the second. Nine consecutive three-pointers, to be exact. And a total of twelve threes at the half.
Back to Exum however. He looked comfortable on the catch, had ample space and the rhythm was good. That being said, most of his damage came in the first half, and he wasn't slashing too much.
His misses of the night came when he caught the ball a little bit too far from the three-point line, which is a matter of footwork more than the shooting technique.
Left is the missed shot, right is the made shot. Notice distance when catching ball is different (further for miss).
The shots might have missed, but the release was smooth, which is a huge positive.
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[gfycat data_id="OrnateExcitableAfricanelephant" data_expand=true] In the post-game interview, Exum laughingly blamed teammate Jingles for putting "his foot on the line" and spoiling the 3-point streak, before attributing this night to a great team effort.
What is Exum's secret to shooting?
Now that the shots are finally falling, has it been technique all along, or mental? Dante firmly related the improvement to his confidence.
"One of the main reasons behind it is just the confidence. I've had a couple of games where it's not been happening for me and I've had people come up and say, keep shooting, you can make it. [It] just kind of gives me that little bit of confidence, so when I get that next shot, it's just going to go down." - source
I'm definitely looking forward to the improved, hot-shooting Exum in the days ahead.