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The Floater is the Most Effective Shot in Basketball
The most popular shot is the three-pointer. The most polarizing shot is the midrange jumper, and perhaps the most iconic is the poster. But the most effective shot-in my undersized opinion is the floater. The way you can just ease into it like your favorite pair of ugg slippers. The way you can just let the ball float off your hands over the taller help defender and then just stare at him with squinted eyes and bit lips because he really thought he was going to get a block. Not today bozo! The floater is perhaps the purest and under-appreciated shot in basketball.
If you are a guard who doesn't have a heavenly floater in your game, then your game is *click here*. The floater helps smaller guards negate the taller shot blocker. It also provides an easier way of getting a bucket instead of trying to finish in a forest. It keeps defenders on their toes, and it also opens an opportunity for a hesitation move.
You hit the defender with two floaters in a row. You come back that third time, and this time he's going to be ready to overcommit to stop you from embarrassing him. So you decelerate, you feint your shoulders up along with your head like you're throwing up the same shot, and as soon as the defender plants his feet, you dribble right past him for an easy layup or layoff.
Here's John Wall with a perfect example.
The floater is especially dangerous in the middle of the lane because it puts so much pressure on the defense and opens up other shots for your offense. If you want an example, look no further than James Harden. His perimeter shooting is so lethal that it allows him to easily get past the initial defender and get downhill. That's the defender's worst nightmare.
If he sells out to stop the floater, then Harden will use his floater as a disguise to oop it to his defender in the dunker's spot. If the help defender keys on taking away that pass, then Harden will easily float it in.
The youth have already embraced this shot.
Every single Memphis Grizzlies player has a floater they can go to. None better than big man Brandon Clarke. Watch how he sets up a short roll and gets an easy shot off among 4 defenders.
If Clarke didn't have the floater in that situation, he would have had to take an awkward jumper or get swallowed by the defense on his way to the basket. The floater allows a team like the Grizzlies, who are not the best outside shooting team, to play to their strengths and get easy, efficient looks driving towards the basket.
The young prince-soon-to-be-king of floaters is the impressive late 1st round pick of the New York Knicks, Immanuel Quickley.
Quickley, about halfway through his rookie season, has his own signature shot. His runner is perhaps the most fluid floater in the game. Watch how smoothly he gets into his shot off the dribble. With almost no wasted motion and nothing, the defender can do about it.
Knicks fans already know, but Rookie Immanuel Quickley might have one of the deadliest running floater games in the entire NBA.— Jawob Murray (@WorldWideWob) January 17, 2021
To prove it, I went through all 18 box scores to create this 2:30 supercut of every floater he's made this season.
Will the floater become the new Steph Curry pull-up 3, the Kareem skyhook, or the Iverson crossover? No, but it is way more easily replicable than, say, the Jordan/Kobe fadeaway. It may not be the sexiest shot, but it is hands down one of the more pure shots in the game. If you're a young player with hopes of making the league like me (at 5'9", 23 years old, I'm not giving up (one of us make it, we all make it )), then you have to incorporate the floater in your game.
When you do, watch your all-around efficiency go up.
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