Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow are two of the elite shooters in the NBA, and now are together on the same team. After practice they work each day going through a competition of shooting drills. I was able to talk with them about these competitions last week.
Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow are two of the best perimeter shooters in the NBA. Both have phenomenal ability from beyond the arc (Korver 41.3% career from 3, Morrow 42.7% career from 3) and now they are paired together on the same team. Of all of the Hawks offseason moves, the most notable was the abundance of shooters this team has on the roster, none more potent than Korver and Morrow. These two battle for minutes, are pitted against one another on teams in practice, and would have a genuinely good excuse if they did not want to help the other out; but these guys work together after practice every day, trying to get better.
The bond between Korver and Morrow seems like that of a big brother and little brother. Korver, a nine-year vet, leads the drills and does most of the talking; while Morrow, a four-year player, quietly listens and does Kyle's drills, knowing that he's going to learn a lot. Their competitions down on the far end of the practice floor can last from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the practice that day. They have more shooting drills than I can count, including but not limited to: one-handed three pointers (it's ridiculous), cone drills, pull-up drills, corner three drills, catch-and-shoot drills, curl drills (off screens) and more. Watching their post-practice workout is an awesome experience, and also will make any average basketball player feel completely inadequate.
Talking with Kyle and Anthony about their competitions, they both light up a little bit and really enjoy working with each other. I asked them (separately) about going up against each other in practice, and also about who had the edge in their competitions. (The interviews took place last Thursday, the practice day between the Pacers game and Heat game.)
What's it like having another elite shooter on the team to push you?
Kyle Korver: "It's really great. I haven't played with another player like Anthony. It's been like college, when you're in the gym all night shooting with each other. I haven't had something like that in a long time, someone that really pushes you and when you're spot shooting and going to ten and you miss a shot you're probably going to lose. It helps keep you focused and I think we have fun with it."
Anthony Morrow: "It's great man, we do it every day. We don't take any days off. We push each other. I've never had such a good shooter on my team that can match me like that. It's really good for me, and I know he feels the same way, so every day we just want to get better... It's fun man, it's fun. I never knew he was that competitive. It's good, it's intense down there. Sometimes people just sit down there and watch (side note: that would be me) and you might hear somebody say that we made 20 out of 21 together, but we don't think about that, just trying to make every shot."
How competitive does it get down there, and how close are the competitions every day?
KK: "It comes down to the last shot pretty much every time, and it gets a little heated. Which is good. You've got to be able to take a little pressure. A lot of times for us, we're in there at the end of games and have to be able to take that pressure shot, that final three, so we get to do that every day."
AM: "Man, it's close every day. It's decided by one spot. We might shoot 12 or 14 or 15 spots, and it comes down to one or two spots at the end in favor of me or in favor of him any given day. Just the whole competition, we don't think about how many shots it is, it's just we just want to continue to make our shots mean something."
How much do you talk to each other on the floor and push each other?
KK: "Yeah, like last night [against the Pacers] I missed a couple shots in a row and he said a little something and it was right. I was just rushing a little bit, he just told me to slow down. We say stuff to each other all the time. We're kinda battling for minutes too, so it's cool that we're there for each other. It's probably pretty easy to not say anything to the other guy or cheer when he misses, cause it's more minutes for you. He's a really good guy and a great shooter and I'm glad he's on my team."
AM: "In the game we help each other. If it's flat, if we need to get our feet set better we tell each other. It's good, it's for the greater cause of the team."
Is there a spot on the floor that is your favorite?
KK: "Mmm, yeah. Everyone always talks about the corners being a little bit shorter, but I'd probably say up top somewhere, I mean, it doesn't really matter."
AM: "I got a few, I like corners, I like wings, I like everywhere man."
Is there anywhere on the floor you can't make from, last night you/Kyle had about a 30-footer in the game?
KK: "I don't know [laughing], I'd probably rather shoot a three than a lay-up."
AM: "Yeah, we work on the long range three's too. We talk about that. It's the same shot, whether you're shooting from 5 feet or 30 feet.
What have you learned from Kyle?
AM: "Footwork stuff. Anytime they ask us what we want to do, I just say whatever Kyle wants to do. I just try to play off his footwork and mimic his footwork, and it's definitely helping me get better."
Who has the edge in ya'lls competitions?
KK: "Uhh...[laughing]. It's a battle every day."
AM: "Man, like the last two or three days it was me, but he got me today though. It was close man. We play a free throw game too, and I've won that the last like four days, he was killing me the first few days. It's his game, he taught me how to play it."