There was a lot to be excited about in Dennis Smith Jr.’s rookie season. From the dunks, to the passing, and to the time he told Kyrie Irving things you probably wouldn’t say in front of your grandmother, Junior was a lone bright spot in an otherwise dreadful season.
However, Smith’s rookie season showed deficiencies in his game, with shooting being the glaring flaw. For example, of the 17 players who attempted 14 or more shots and logged a usage percentage of 28 or better, Smith’s 47.3 percent true shooting percentage was dead last.
It’s too early to panic, though, and we might never even need to worry because it looks like Smith is working out with Stephen Curry’s personal development coach, Brandon Payne.
Becoming a dynamic shot maker requires you to work through a lot of perfectly executed reps. @desmith4 is putting in the work to expand his game this off season. His athleticism is off the charts, but his ability to learn and execute new concepts has been even more impressive. Dennis was very good in his rookie season, but he didn’t even scratch the surface of what he’s capable of. It’s been a lot of fun helping him along on his path to NBA stardom. - #dennissmithjr #dallasmavs #uabasketball #nba #acceleratebasketball
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A key part of our training is to eliminate “paralysis by analysis.” We develop players to be more fluid, more aggressive and more confident. The impact: the game slows down and players react more efficiently and effectively. Accelerate Basketball Training accelerates muscle memory and enables your brain to talk to your feet and hands at an accelerated rate.
Payne’s regimens strive to sharpen a player’s mental acumen in conjunction with refining basketball skill. If Curry is the litmus test for Payne’s tactics, Accelerate Basketball has hit it out of the park. After all, Curry is only the greatest shooter in NBA history, the first unanimous league MVP, and the catalyst to arguably one of the most efficient basketball machines the NBA has seen.
On Payne’s Instagram account, there a handful of clips showcasing Smith’s workouts. Of course there are dunks. One does not simply watch DSJ workout without filming eye-popping dunks. There are also clips of Smith (as well as Curry) creating separation and shooting off the dribble. That’s encouraging considering Smith’s shooting percentages plummeted when forced to shoot off the bounce.
Off-season trainers are gaining more notoriety when players make significant jumps from one season to the next after enduring their rigorous training regimens. The recent example is Drew Hanlen working his magic on Jayson Tatum’s jumper and stretching Mo Bamba’s range to the perimeter. Payne’s signature client is undoubtedly Curry, but making Smith Jr. an efficient, more cerebral player would go a long way for the dynamic rookie’s career.