Mark Price Rumors

So he went to work last summer. Assistant coach Mark Price, one of the best shooters in NBA history, tore everything apart and put it back together. The hitch and sidespin are gone and Kidd-Gilchrist now has a release point that doesn’t come on his descent from the jump. The result? He makes 43 percent of his mid-range jump shots this season, compared to an embarrassing 28 percent a season ago. That forces defenders to get up on him, making his drives so much more effective.
The results won’t start becoming public until next Wednesday when the Hornets play their first exhibition in Philadelphia. But the head coach sounds encouraged. “I’ve never seen anybody’s shooting mechanics change more drastically, in the year or so Mark has worked with him,” Steve Clifford said Monday. “He’s not Dell Curry, and that’s important for him to understand and us to understand. He’s played one way his whole life. Mike has always caught it and said, ‘I’ll drive it or pass it.’ Now he has more ability to shoot the ball. “If he can get to that point where he makes some shots, he’ll have a much different career.”
Now consider the look: Everything about Kidd-Gilchrist’s jump shot appeared awkward. He would launch the ball almost as he landed at the end of his jump. The shot had a weird side spin, like a Frisbee flying through the air. Price, one of the great shooters in NBA history – 40.9 percent from 3-point range and 90.4 percent from the foul line – was charged with tearing apart Kidd-Gilchrist’s delivery and replacing it with something sound and reliable. “I told everyone in management this was going to be a process,” Price said, invoking the magic word. “I always knew this was going to be a big summer for Mike and I give him a lot of credit. We started in May and really broke some things down. He listened, he applied it and the biggest part is he stuck with it. We all know when somebody is making some changes there are tendencies to slip back.”
Once the Bobcats’ wing player finds balance, it allows him to be ready to shoot, which should bring in some much- needed confidence. “Basically for the most part, he wasn’t ready to shoot when he got the ball,” Price explained after his pupil went 4 of 4 from the field for 11 points in the team’s second summer league game. “So even [Sunday] we talked about that, I thought [Sunday] was the best job he’s done. I mean he was actually ready, took his shots in rhythm, and made a couple. Just doing those kinds of things are going to help. Obviously, to become the kind of shooter you want to be, you’re going to have to eventually get a lot of things straightened out. But I think just getting some of that stuff is going to help him a lot.”
Charlotte Bobcats’ new assistant coach Mark Price was recently hired to join Steve Clifford’s coaching staff. Immediately, he was given the task of fixing Kidd-Gilchrist’s jumper. Price’s credentials are legit. In 12 NBA seasons, he scored more than 10,000 points, shot 47.2 percent from the field, 40.2 percent from 3-point range, and he’s currently second all-time in free throw percentage at 90.3 percent. So what do you do if you’re the shooting coach of a guy that looks like he’s caught in a wretched game of Twister whenever he gears up for a jump shot? “I think there’s a lot of things going on,” Price said at Las Vegas Summer League. “I think what most everybody is looking at right now is where his elbow is, the hitch in his shot, things like that, but there’s a lot of balance, footwork, getting your body in position squared up to shoot the basketball that’s going on, as well. I typically start there first. I start with the feet and move up. Most guys think of shooting from the waist up but a lot of things happen starting with your feet.”
Toward the end of shootaround Friday, Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash approached Dwight Howard and offered up a couple of tips on how to shoot free throws. Though Howard is shooting just 46.9 percent from the foul line this season, while Nash is tied with Mark Price for the best free throw percentage in NBA history at 90.4 percent, the Lakers center said he’s had enough of people giving him advice. “Listen, he was just suggesting some things, but it’s not something that we’ve already talked about or anybody else has suggested,” Howard said. “My mind cannot get clouded with everybody telling me how to shoot a free throw. I just have to go up there and shoot it my way and not get caught up in what everybody else is saying, because that’s when I miss.”
It appears that the Orlando Magic are adding arguably the greatest free-throw shooter in NBA history to their staff. Cleveland’s Plain Dealer is reporting, via Twitter, that four-time NBA All-Star and former Magic point guard Mark Price is expected to be named the Magic’s “player development/shooting coach.” Last season, Price served as the shooting coach for the Golden State Warriors. In the two seasons before that, he was a shooting consultant for the Atlanta Hawks.
Nash posted 23 points, 16 assists and seven rebounds and continued a streak of 48 consecutive made free throws to push him past Mark Price for the best career free-throw percentage in NBA history (90.4). “I looked up to Mark as a young player so that’s obviously a thrill,” Nash said. “It’s been a tough season so it’s not No. 1 on my list right now. We’ve got a lot of work to do so it’s overshadowed by this uphill battle we have to wage.”
Not all participants’ identities are disclosed; some consider the sessions a form of rehabilitation that deserve privacy. Thaddeus Young, one of several Philadelphia 76ers to take part, said by telephone that he came out of the lab an improved, though not finished, product (his 2-point shooting is up this season, his 3-point shooting is down). Young’s shot was partly retooled, with emphasis on positioning his feet. He offers an unsolicited endorsement.
The lab’s most renowned problem case was Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, whose transcendent 2009-10 season was in small part a result of Price’s handiwork. Rondo arrived with a host of maladies — a flying elbow, which he neglected to keep tucked in; imbalance because of poor foot placement; and a habit of bringing the ball too far back before launching. Two dozen N.B.A. players, former gym rats all, have become Price’s lab rats in the off-season, along with others from the Development League, for which Kreutzer, the lab shooting coach and operator, is a consultant.
Bruce Kreutzer is the man at the equipment’s controls for Sandoval, a former college point guard and Dominican Republic national team player who is aiming for a spot in the N.B.A. Development League. He has fallen into a parade of professionals who have wound their way to the Suwanee Sports Academy, 35 miles northeast of Atlanta. The academy caters primarily to youngsters in several indoor sports, mostly basketball. A small section tucked off to the side is a minigymnasium less than a halfcourt in length. It has a low ceiling, mirrored walls and a scruffy floor. A sign identifies it as the Mark Price Shooting Lab, whose namesake and director needed no machines or technology to become an N.B.A. dead-eye. “I call it the A.A. of shooting,” said Price, 46, a retired four-time All-Star who is the most accurate free-throw shooter in N.B.A. history (.904) and is 23rd in career 3-point percentage (.402). Through computer-generated video and stills, he said, “You show them, and they go, ‘I’ve got a problem.’