Some players study Kevin Durant for the way he can hit a shot from anywhere on the floor. Others observe how gets to the basket with ease.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson carefully watched how Durant approached his free throws. More significantly, he paid attention to how the former MVP shimmied before release.
While playing at the University of Arizona, Hollis-Jefferson decided to incorporate a Durant-inspired move into his own free throw routine. Instead of only moving his shoulders like Durant, he also swiveled his hips.
“I was watching KD do his little shoulder shimmy one day and I was like, ‘Let me try this,’ because I saw when he did it, it relaxes his shoulders,” Hollis-Jefferson told Basketball Insiders at the Las Vegas Summer League. “Pretty much I took it, added some ‘Rondae’ to it, and it just became a thing.”
Hollis-Jefferson’s personal touch incorporates one of his favorite things to do outside of playing basketball.
“I like to dance,” the Brooklyn Nets rookie said. “That’s part of my relaxing.”
What is now a staple of his game wasn’t always well received. Before Hollis-Jefferson debuted the move in a game, he practiced it in the gym and asked for opinions of how he looked shooting. One person who wasn’t on board was his coach, Sean Miller.
“I did it a little bit last year (2013-14 season) but it kind of was off and on because my coach didn’t like it because I was shooting like 50 percent,” he said. “But now it went up.”
Hollis-Jefferson shot 70.7 percent from the line his sophomore season before declaring for the NBA Draft. He was drafted 23rd by the Portland Trail Blazers and traded to the Nets. Between the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, he is shooting 18-for-27 (66.7 percent) from the free throw line.
“I think everything basketball-wise is muscle memory,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “Once you get something down pat and it works from you, it becomes a comfortable thing and it relaxes you. The numbers prove it.”
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