De'Aaron Fox had a tremendous freshman year playing point guard for the Kentucky Wildcats, who reached the Elite 8 in this year's NCAA tournament. Despite shooting only 24.6 percent from the 3-point line and 36.2 percent on 2-point jumpers, he still averaged 16.7 points per game and was able to declare for the NBA Draft after a single season of college hoops.
However, his speed, quickness and athleticism will only take him so far when competing against the top basketball players in the world. That's why Fox is doubling down on his shooting this offseason to improve his accuracy and become the well-rounded point guard NBA teams desire.
"I know I'm going to have to make shots in the league. During the college season I was struggling shooting the ball, so that is a priority right now for me," Fox said in a post-workout interview with Draft Express.
Fox's Shooting Workout
Fox is spending this offseason away from his home in Cypress, Texas training at the Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.
His pre-draft workouts begin with mobility work and a warm-up at 8:30 or 9 a.m followed by 90 minutes of on-court skills work. After a break to eat and rest, Fox heads to the weight room for an hour of lifting before finishing the day with additional skill work.
During Fox's on-court workout, he can be seen running through ball-handling drills in which he makes a series of moves at a controlled pace down the court. He works on creating different scoring options out of live pick-and-roll situations during which his trainers serve as defenders.
Fox practices his isolation moves on a trainer who serves as a perimeter defender and then drives past him and makes a move to get past a second defender before finishing at the rim. Finally, he gets a lot of shooting reps off both the catch and the dribble working both in the mid-range and all the way out to the NBA 3-point line.
Here are three drills inspired by Fox's ball-handling and shooting routine that will help you hone your basketball skills.
Walking Dribble Combinations
This drill can be used by all players to improve dribbling as you advance up the court, and it will help you make moves on open-court defenders in transition and against defenders in the half court. The walking pace allows you to make quick and sharp moves while maintaining control of your body and the ball.
- Begin on the baseline with a basketball in your hand.
- Determine a combination of moves that you want to work on for each repetition of the drill (e.g., crossover, between the legs, behind the back, double behind the back, etc.)
- Complete one round of the chosen series while stationary with wide feet and knees bent on the baseline
- After the completion of the first round of moves begin to walk your feet forward, taking steps at a controlled pace with each move while maintaining the low, wide stance.
- Move from the baseline to half court and back. Repeat 8-10 times using different combinations each time
Perimeter Isolation Moves with Help Defender
Practicing ball-handling moves in this half-court setting will improve your ability to score when isolated one-on-one with a defender. It also will help you evade a second defender in the paint to recreate offensive iso game situations.
This drill can be used with either partners or cones serving as perimeter and mock defenders.
- Begin at one of five perimeter spots (the top of the key, wings and corners) a few feet behind the 3-point line.
- Set up one cone or have one partner standing on the 3-point line at a spot with the next cone or partner about 5 feet from the basket but in line with the first cone or partner.
- Make a crossover, between-the-legs, behind-the-back, spin, in-and-out or hesitation move, or a combination of these, to get past the first mock defender.
- Next use either another ball-handling move or finishing move such as a Eurostep, collected spin, up-and-under, lateral jump stop or floater over the defender to finish.
- Repeat this drill 10-15 times at each of the five spots.
Catch and Shoot Threes Running Off Screens
Being able to run, stop, catch the ball, collect your balance and shoot is an important skill for those who want to improve their shooting prowess. Working on this drill allows you to practice your footwork and mechanics for shooting on the move.
This drill is best performed with a partner to serve as a passer and rebounder but could be done individually as well. It would also work best with an object such as a cone or chair set a few feet inside the 3-point arc to indicate the placement of the screen but is also not completely necessary.
- Begin under the basket and run toward one of the five perimeter spots behind the 3-point line past the object or imagined screen.
- As you run off the screen, begin to bend your knees and set up your footwork for catching and shooting the ball. This will most likely be either done using a 1,2 step to turn your body toward the basket or curl toward the pass, or using a hop to turn toward the basket, catch and shoot.
- Repeat this until you've made 5 or more shots at each of the five spots.
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