For those who might be depressed about the economy, who resent the rich and famous, and right now, are particularly upset with the rich, remember this: Even millionaires can struggle beyond the arc.
In a lighthearted scene at the Kings practice facility Thursday afternon, after most of the players had retreated to the locker room, co-owner Maloof spent about 45 minutes "working" on his outside shot with Kings assistant (and former Indiana Pacers sharpshooter) Chuck Person. Overdressed for the occasion in a pair of worn blue jeans, black T-shirt and jogging shoes, the younger of the co-owners - sweating profusely and repeatedly pulling up his pants - missed most of his mid-range attempts, then stepped behind the line. As predicted, he was more proficient from three-point range. He tossed up a few airballs and a few almost-airballs, but he usually caught the rim.
After releasing his shots, Maloof would turn to Person for guidance. As the two continued, moving their way around the key, I walked over and badgered Person for a quick scouting report on the boss.
"I don't think Mr. Maloof would like that," he replied, with a grin.
"Go ahead, tell her," Gavin interjected.
So here's the critique, as provided by the former NBA star known as The Rifleman: "The first thing you want to do is get him to shoot the ball straight. Not just hm, but anybody. But when we started off, he started with a low arc, with too low a trajectory. We're trying to get him to bring his elbow up, to bring the ball up with more speed, then to use his fingers and follow through. The higher arc promotes air under the ball, which makes the shot softer. 'Elbow high. Fingers follow through. Elbow high. Fingers follow through.' Those are the simplest things to remember."
Learning from The Logo
Person, who grew up in rural Alabama, developed his shooting touch with a little help from Hall of Famer Jerry West. When he was in ninth-grade, Person explained, he attended a basketball camp at Auburn University that featured the former Lakers great as a guest speaker. "I used to bring the ball up high over my head, and shoot with two hands," the second-year Kings assistant said, grabbing a ball and demonstrating. "Jerry West took me aside and changed my (mechanics). He told me to keep my elbows high and to use my fingers on the follow through."
Still seeing red ...
Spencer Hawes spends most of his time living in blue states - his native Washington and California - but remains staunchly Republican. He was eagerly awaiting tonight's debate between vice-presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, but disappointed to learn that the session conflicted with the evening practice. "I can't even tape it," he said, "because we're staying in a hotel. I'm sure it will be on again later, when we get back. I'll catch it on Fox."
"I like Governor Palin," he added. "I think she's going to do fine."
We'll check back for his scorecard later.
Final thoughts on the owner's basketball skills ....
During Gavin's shooting session, he displayed decent ballhandling skills and a nice rotation on his jumper, especially on his deeper shots. He even dribbled between his legs a few times without turning the ball over. Overall, he didn't completely embarrass himself, and he wasn't shy about citing his deficiencies, which was sort of refreshing. But he definitely needs to work on his conditioning and, as he admitted, lose about 30 pounds.