For the 2014-15 season, Eric Gordon posted a 44.8% three-point field goal percentage, finishing only behind Kyle Korver's 49.2% for the league lead. In a number of interviews, Gordon credited the prior offseason and the hours of work on his shot after determining the Pelicans roster was going to need that prowess from the outside.
However, upon closer examination, that is the abridged version of the entire truth. A tweak to his shooting form might deserve the majority of the credit. The implementation of the Sweep and Sway, a part of the F.O.R.E.S.T. concept by the Pro Shot Shooting system appears to have been the missing link.
If you're interested in learning more about this recipe in producing a great jumpshot, I advise watching all of their free videos here. For the purposes of this article, though, we're only going to concentrate on the one facet that appeared to be missing in Gordon's shot prior to last season.
On average, the Sweep and Sway moves the player momentum towards the rim around 6 inches. Thus, their feet should land about this length away from where the player left the ground at the start of his jumpshot. If you don't believe this, go have a look at some footage of Kevin Durant, Ray Allen or Stephen Curry right now. Or for your viewing pleasure, watch Kyrie Irving below.
Notice where Irving's feet leave the ground and then land. He repeated the same motion on every shot in the 2015 NBA 3-point shooting contest during All-Star weekend. Reggie Miller exclaimed "money player" but it looks like his form is responsible for him earning all those big checks.
When I played in grade school, I was told to jump straight up and down (thanks alot B.E.E.F.). In looking at the older footage of Eric Gordon's shot, he was apparently taught similarly. Look at this jumper by Eric Gordon against the Spurs from the 2013-14 season. Or how about this one against the Kings a month later.
Fast forward to last season and suddenly he's not taking off and landing in close to the identical spot on the floor. Check out this three-point make from the top of the key against the Sixers or this deep bomb from against the Suns.
The difference in the landings from one season to the next is as obvious as night is to day. Gordon has unlocked something that benefited his game immensely.
And the better news? In looking through footage from last season, he wasn't consistent in his sweep and sway. Thus, if his body holds up and he avoids injury, he could potentially improve upon his accuracy once he learns to better repeat the newly found form.
By the way, during the writing of this article, I got to thinking about Tyreke Evans jumpshot and how it seemed to vary in appearance through the course of last year. Was his noticeably leaning, often times fading, jumper a product of attempting to incorporate the same Sweep and Sway movement?
I'm not sure but we'll save that thought for another day. For now, let's rejoice that Gordon's anomalous season on paper actually has proof that it was probably for real. That this improved version of Gordon will consistently remain one of the league's deadliest outside shooters come next season.