Throughout this season, Exum has always shown a very consistent game plan, when it comes to shooting. He lurks at the wings and corners for the open three-pointer (54.1% of his shots are catch and shoot), and is usually reluctant to shoot off the dribble. There's usually a good reason to not to shoot off the dribble, and making 1 of every 5 shots taken is a really, really solid reason.
Recently though, he's shown us something new. Something, that might be a real option next season. Behold, the stepback jumper.
It's entirely possible he's done this even earlier. I first noticed this shot when he was harassed thoroughly by Wall and got trapped in the corner against Gortat.
Isolated and with the shot clock winding down, he was forced to get creative.
[gfycat data_id="FamousKnobbyAfricancivet" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] Against the Timberwolves today, he took the same shot again.
This time, the shot did not seem like a desperation shot, but came within the flow of his offense. He was ready to shoot the corner 3, but had the defense in his first, so took a dribble in, with the intention of driving. The help defender (Payne) however had already shifted in preparation for his drive, so he took another dribble, stepped back and took the long jumper instead.
[gfycat data_id="ParchedCarefulFlyingsquirrel" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] Now, it's obvious both shots missed. We all know this move is still going to be raw and unsightly for a while. Exum is going to have to put a lot of practice time in, before he becomes anywhere near being Harden-esque with that shot.
Challenges aside, we can surely appreciate the upside, when it becomes a finished product. Exum's tremendous length allows him to get a huge swath of space for his shot, simply by taking that one step. Think about the possibilities this opens up. Having a live dribble and the stepback as a viable option, allows him to keep the defense guessing, and gives him more opportunities to drive, or even bait the defense into a shooting foul.
Is it possible that we could see Exum pulling off shots like these next time?
[gfycat data_id="SoupyFrighteningAndeancondor" data_autoplay=true data_expand=true] One can dream!