MIAMI: Near the end of every practice for the last couple of weeks, Alonzo Gee has been working on a new shooting drill that seems to be working.
Gee and the coaches have decided he has been too upright on offense for most of the season, so he’s trying harder to start lower on offense in order to get his shot off quicker. In order to do that, he and assistant coach Jamahl Mosley have created a drill that starts with Gee already low in a crouch when Mosley passes him the ball. Then Gee turns to the basket and releases.
“He’s more ‘shot ready,’ ” coach Byron Scott said. “When he’s catching low, he can go right up into his shot instead of catching and now going low and getting into his shot. He’s taken that one second out of it and that’s been big for him lately and he’s gotten used to it pretty quickly, which is kind of unusual.”
It doesn’t sound like much of a change, but Scott said that one second he is saving makes a big difference in the NBA. Gee is typically positioned in the corners in the Cavs’ offense, and swinging it from the wing to the corner gives the defense time to rotate properly if he’s wasting time going low and coming back up.
“That one second can be the difference between you getting your shot blocked or challenged and being wide open,” Scott said. “It’s a nice little rhythm that he has and he looks pretty comfortable doing that.”
Gee conceded the drill is awkward because it looks sort of silly. But it’s hard to argue with the results.
From Jan. 14 through Feb. 8, Gee was in a miserable slump. He was averaging 5.8 points, making less than two baskets a night and shooting just 33 percent. He complained of being tired from all of his work on the defensive end, including picking up point guards baseline to baseline, and admitted two weeks before the All-Star break that he was already looking forward to it.
Entering tonight’s game at the Chicago Bulls, Gee is averaging 12.3 points and shooting 61 percent in his past six games.
“It took me and Jamahl some time. We’ve watched a lot of film of my shot and decided I just have to be down,” Gee said. “I just have to stay ready, because you’ve got Dion [Waiters] and Kyrie [Irving) and Shaun [Livingston] and they move the ball. You never know when they’re going to pass it, so you have to stay shot ready with knees bent down.”
Gee drew Scott’s ire on Sunday, however, when he blew assignments on both offense and defense late in the game in a 109-105 loss to the Miami Heat. Even through his offensive struggles, Scott never thought about removing Gee from the starting lineup because of what he provides defensively.
But Gee’s failure to switch on a pick-and-roll late in the game cost the Cavs a crucial dunk. LeBron James also scored 28 points primarily with Gee defending him, although James is the reigning Most Valuable Player and difficult for anyone to stop.
“Those little mistakes we made down the [stretch] cost us the game,” Gee said. “We’ve just got to take this game and learn from it, try not to make mental mistakes down the line in the fourth quarter when it counts.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.