The explanation behind Bass' jumpshot

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The explanation behind Bass' jumpshot

Brandon Bass has one of the more unusual jumpshots in the NBA. Not for his release, but for the split-legged landing he finishes with at times.

That landing, in which Bass looks as if he is lunging, is not intentionally part of his formation. It is often the end result of a shot-gone-wrong.

When I land a certain way, you know what that means? That means Im trying to put everything into my shot, he explained. If you see me land different, like if Im landing and I split like this, it means I didnt put enough legs into it so Im trying to put whatever else is left into it. If Ive got good legs, you wont see me come up and down. But if Im landing splitting or some type of funny way, I didnt put enough legs into my shot.

Bass plays the majority of his defense with his upper body, leaving his legs for offense. He says his offensive game is self-taught and he is comfortable with the shot he has developed. Tall for his age growing up, he played the center position in high school which required him to use his legs to score.

I used to have to try to jump over everybody to get my shot off, the 6-8 power forward explained. It translates for me shooting the close shots, trying to jump over people to me being out in the perimeter shooting the same way.

Bass conditions his legs by logging hours on the StairMaster and doing power cleans during workouts. He also does yoga for flexibility, which he credits for helping him bounce back from hyperextending his left knee during Wednesdays game against the Atlanta Hawks.

When it comes to his shot, he hits the gym either before practice or at night on an off day. On game days, Bass shoots until he makes 100 baskets.

It doesnt take a lot, he said, Like 125 (attempts).

This season Bass is averaging 12.3 points per game and shooting 48.0 percent from the field. He cites increased minutes on the court as a key to his success this season. After moving from the bench into the starting power forward role (Kevin Garnett shifted to center as a result of Jermaine ONeals season-ending wrist injury), Bass is averaging 31.5 minutes per game, up from 26.1 last season with the Orlando Magic.

Following an 0-for-6 shooting slump against the Indiana Pacers on April 7, he bounced back a day later to go 8-for-10 from the field (18 points) against the Philadelphia 76ers.

I just think I was so tired that day. I had done too much, he said. In Indiana, I did yoga the day before the game. That took a lot out of me. Then I went to the game I did a crazy workout, so I had no legs.

Aside from his 100 shots, Bass is cutting back on his game-day routine as of late I just think doing less before the game, I do better before the game, he said. Since Saturdays field goal-less performance, he is averaging 17.0 points over the last three games and shooting 62.9 percent from the field (22-for-35 FG). He is also averaging 38.0 minutes during that span, including 42 in Wednesdays overtime win.

The key for my shot is just repetition, he said. Some people, for instance, like (former Magic teammate) Ryan Anderson in Orlando, he doesnt work on his shot. He doesnt shoot. He could just wake up, sitting for a year, and just shoot. But certain people cant do that. Like Paul (Pierce), hes got one of those shots where he could just shoot.

I have to work on that.

New Patriots DE Chris Long willing to be led

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New Patriots DE Chris Long willing to be led

Chris Long’s been in the NFL since 2008. As the offspring of Hall of Famer Howie Long, he knows the ways and means of life in the league.
 
So, it’s instructive that a player who’s been around this long decided that success here hinged on allowing himself to be led. Check the ego, check the pride, behave as if you know nothing.
 
In doing so, Long’s affixed himself to the side of fellow defensive end Rob Ninkovich like a 275-pound remora.
 
“Rob and I really clicked,” Long said Thursday after a Patriots OTA session open to the media. “We’ve got a lot of similarities, and he’s a great guy to learn from and shadow. He’s been here obviously a long time. Rob knows how to do things the right way around here. When you see a guy like that, if you’re halfway smart, you follow him around and do what he does. If Rob goes to lunch, I go to lunch. That type of thing. Rob’s a good buddy already.”
 
Long was also observed Thursday spending a lot of downtime with Jabaal Sheard, the two defensive ends on a knee near the Gatorade conversing for a couple of minutes.
 
With Chandler Jones now a Cardinal, the Patriots defensive end depth chart this offseason has have Sheard and Ninkovich at the top, with Long in the mix situationally, one supposes. Reps need to be split for freshness. Meanwhile, Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers are coming into their second seasons and will push for time as well.
 
For his part, Long isn’t projecting anything.
 
“Well, I’m still learning, so I can’t make the determination yet,” Long said. “Ask me again during training camp. Every day in the NFL is an opportunity. A coach I’ve had before said every day is an interview, and that’s how I like to look at things. Every day, you have a chance to get better and learn and worry about your own — farm your own land and do all that good stuff. That’s the way I approach everything. It would be a disservice to the other guys if I was worried about anything other than myself, that opportunity just to get out here on the practice field and compete and get better.”
 
And let yourself be led. 

Surprise! Rex and Rob Ryan talk themselves up

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Surprise! Rex and Rob Ryan talk themselves up

Can’t you just imagine the Ryan brothers as teenagers, riding along in a pickup, windows down, hair whipping, hollering their skewed affirmations over the Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“Biggest badasses in town?! US!!”

“Handsomest fat guys to be!? US!!”

“Defensive-geniuses-in-waiting destined to be criminally underappreciated and overlooked so that we’ll forever be obligated to remind everyone at every turn how tough, accomplished and slighted we’ve been? HELL, THAT’S US TOO!!”

It’s May, which means it’s Ryan propaganda season. Not that Jenny Vrentas of MMQB did the Ryan’s bidding with her fun Q&A that’s online today. 

All she needed to do was hit record and lay the recorder on the table. Rex and Rob take care of the tire pumping themselves.

Fortuitously, now that they’re together in Buffalo as head coach (Rex) and assistant head coach/defensive capo (Rob), they can pat each other’s backs rather than reach back and do their own themselves.

Rob – poopcanned from his last two jobs as defensive coordinator in Dallas and New Orleans – carried the show in this one firing passive-aggressive darts at Saints head coach Sean Payton and promising to “beat” Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

“At the end of the day, the last two years in New Orleans were a waste of time for me,” said Rob Ryan, who was fired last November by Payton. “I want to give everything I have to a team that I want to be a part of, with a head coach I want to be a part of. Not only is Rex a great head coach, but he is also a great defensive coach. He’s going to be the best coach that I can work for, anytime. And I have worked for Belichick, who is the best head coach in football, in the history of the game. But we’re going to beat him, and we’re going to beat him together. And it’s going to be an awesome challenge. I need to be in a multiple system. I was hired to be in a multiple system in New Orleans, and I did a damn good job and got fired for it. I am more hungry now than I have ever been. So I wanted to go with the right guy. And the right guy is someone I have 100 percent trust in and 100 percent faith in.

Payton has already termed Ryan’s contention that it wasn’t Ryan’s defense as “silly.” 

This in-depth look at the precipitous drop of the Saints defense has plenty of damning info about what a “hot mess” Ryan’s operation was. 

Payton is quoted in the piece saying after Ryan’s dismissal, "There were a few things that you looked at from a year ago and you said, 'We can't have X number of snaps with not the right number of guys on the field. We can't burn timeouts, you know, every other week because we can't get the right personnel on the field.' We just can't do that. We can't have guys looking left and right at the snap of the ball. There's a game last season where the first eight plays of the game, we're misaligned and we don't even cover down the right way. Those were just facts."

Facts, schmacts. You want facts? From the interview:

ROB: Well, the highest-rated defensive coach in the history of the league is you.

REX: Right.

ROB: We can pretend there is somebody else, but there’s not. Hey, my numbers are what they are. Now, I took over some pretty lousy jobs, but that’s OK. But no one’s numbers are better than his. I’m talking about Dick LeBeau’s; I’m talking about Belichick; I’m talking about all of them. Hell, even our dad. Who is the best that ever laced them up? Well, I’m just saying. To be the best defensive coach in football, I’ve got to learn from the best, so I came here. It’s been how many years since we’ve been together? He’s not learning anything, but I am. Look at some of his protégés. Bob Sutton is doing a fantastic job in Kansas City. Chuck Pagano was with Rex. He spun off a ton of great coaches, and it is going to be fun to be a part of that.

Here’s the thing, the Ryans are very bright defensive coaches with an in-the-trenches-with-you bedside manner that invites massive huge loyalty from their players.

But there’s also an outsized sense of pride and ego that both men seem to have that causes them to get caught up in style over substance.

Rex wanted to build a bully in Buffalo. His Bills talked tough before facing the Patriots last September and came unhinged in the first half, effectively taking themselves out of the game before it began. 

The Bills have an terrific array of defensive talent even with the loss of Mario Williams this offseason. They added Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland in the draft – both well-regarded players who could have early-career impacts. They have the pieces. But they had them in 2015 as well and underperformed. The fact is, Rex is in a “prove-it” season. Even though he points out in the interview that his family has coached in six Super Bowls, three of those were coached by Buddy Ryan, two by Rob and one by Rex. In 66 combined seasons of NFL coaching. Belichick’s coached in eight by himself in 42 NFL seasons. The results are lacking.

It is worth noting before I put a bow on this that respect for Belichick isn’t lacking. The interview is chock-full of references to Rob’s time with the Patriots from 2000 to 2003.

“All the respect in the world for Bill Belichick,” said Rob. “That was fantastic training working for him for four years, and I learned a ton. Look, he is the No. 1 nemesis of every coach in this league. So it’s not just Rex. Now, I think if you ask their offensive staff, the worst they ever play is against Rex. People say, “well, he hasn’t beat them [nine out of the last 10] tries.” Yeah, well, he has beat the hell out of that offense. I am sure the respect is mutual. But I know one thing, we are going to beat them. We are together, we’re going to beat the best. It’s two against one. Him one on one against any coach in the league, that guy is pretty damn good. And he’s also got his best buddy Tom Brady with him. He trained him, and he single-handedly made him great as well.”

Brissett, Mitchell appear to have established chemistry early

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Brissett, Mitchell appear to have established chemistry early

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett may have reeled in the No. 1 most impressive catch of the day during Thursday's OTA session. But No. 2 and 3? Those belonged to rookie fourth-round receiver Malcolm Mitchell. 

The first of his two noteworthy grabs came in 7-on-7 work when Mitchell laid out, fully extended, for a pass from rookie third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the back of the end zone. The second came in an 11-on-11 period when Mitchell adjusted to a long toss down the left sideline from Brissett that was slightly underthrown. Mitchell worked his way back to the football in mid-air and caught it easily for a long gain. 

Reporters have been permitted to watch only one practice thus far, but on Thursday it seemed as though Mitchell -- who came to New England after one year in a pro-style offense with former Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer -- had no trouble knowing where to be and when. 

It also appeared as though Mitchell and Brissett have already established good chemistry, perhaps building on whatever relationship they established in rookie minicamp. One example of their shared connection came on that long completion down along the boundary because it looked like Brissett could sense pressure coming from his right side just before he made his throw. Making a quick decision, Brissett turned to his left, where Mitchell was lined up, and floated a pass in that direction. 

Brissett's instincts were on display again at other points in the practice when he found both Mitchell and rookie seventh-round pick Devin Lucien with passes he made while on the move.

At NC State, Brissett had a knack for extending plays, and Thursday's practice schedule seemed to play into his strengths in that regard. Earlier in the workout, before the offensive and defensive units were pitted against one another, Patriots quarterbacks were instructed to roll out of the pocket to find open receivers -- a half-speed "scramble drill." When Brissett rolled out in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods, he appeared to be putting that work from earlier in the session into action. 

While all rookies put together what are likely considered far from perfect performances in these OTAs, Brissett and Mitchell both had their moments on Thursday, and often those moments were shared. Watching their on-the-field rapport grow will be one of the developments worth tracking as they build up their reps through training camp.