Practice was over, but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was still shooting.
And shooting…and shooting…and shooting.
For about an hour after day four of training camp concluded, as the practice facility emptied, the second year Net forward remained on the court putting extra time into his jump shot. It was all about repetition and muscle memory for Hollis-Jefferson; catch-and-shoot, off the dribble, pull-up jumpers, you name it.
He was the last Net standing in front of those 16-foot high windows...tandi
The 2015 first round pick is longing to expand his game and his range, starting with the most basic method of elevating ones’ game, refining the jumpshot.
"When it boils down to it – it’s consistency," said a tired Hollis-Jefferson after taking extra reps. "More mechanical probably, you could make the argument. But (the philosophy) is still the same; consistency, finding that rhythm, same shot every time. I’m trying to release it early as opposed to holding it. That’s how you get shots that are short, left and right, so just trying to work on the early release and keeping it consistent."
Some players prefer to maintain a record of how many jumpers they attempt while knee deep in the lab. Hollis-Jefferson says that he ‘never counts.’ He just fires away until he’s told to do otherwise.
"I let the coaches count, I just shoot," the former Arizona Wildcat said. "If it feels good and it was a good shot, I try to keep it the same way, but I never count them. I just worry about if I’m shooting it right so I could create that same habit."
Hollis-Jefferson is coming off of a season which was tremendously impacted and ultimately cut short by a severe ankle injury that kept him out of action from early December until late March. As a rookie, the 6-foot-7 athletic wing averaged 5.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per contest over the course of 29 appearances (17 starts).
While nailing 45.7% from the floor, Hollis-Jefferson only hit on 4-of-14 three-point attempts, a shot which he may grow more comfortable with moving forward. At this moment though he is most at home in the mid-range area. The main objective remains: keeping the motion constant from wherever he is on the floor.
"I always felt comfortable shooting mid-range but it’s getting a little deeper and deeper, so time will tell, man," he said. "Sometimes you have your days where it’s a good day even if I missed a few. I feel like I still shot the same way. Then some days I’m shooting the same way, then I kind of revert back to the old way."
"The problem was I tried to change it too much throughout high school and college," Hollis-Jefferson continued. "I tried to change it too much. It was probably in my brain like ‘you shoot too many different ways.’ I’m just trying to break that down and get that out of my mind – that’s probably the biggest thing."
Hollis-Jefferson isn’t neglecting the other parts of his game either as the 21-year old is mindful of making big strides in the all-around aspects of his game, a game where Net fans and media see a lot of potential. His aggressiveness in particular is something he’s looking to elevate to that next level.
"Being aggressive creates a lot of opportunities for your teammates, for everyone on the court," he said. "It just makes the team better and harder to guard. Also defensively, just being able to stay active, aggressive on defense without fouling, just being that guy that guards multiple positions and knowing that this guy may average 20 or whatever, but I’m going to make it a tough 20 for him."