Do you want to develop your mid-range game, but people keep telling you not to? Maybe this article can sway you into just doing it.
The mid-range shot is not inefficient.
But ever since Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the Warriors revolutionized the game of basketball with their 3-point shooting, many fans and analysts (professional and armchair) have criticized the mid-range game.
They believe that a player shouldn’t build their game around it because, well, the 3-pointer is only a few steps back and is worth more points.
It’s also not that much more difficult to shoot.
Hence, it’s much more efficient to shoot.
But by claiming this, they are encouraging players, especially young ones, to focus on the beyond-the-perimeter game rather than focusing on developing a balanced scoring arsenal.
LaMarcus Aldridge also agrees with this.
He believes that the mid-range jumper is a good shot. He believes that it’s an efficient shot. He believes in it so much, in fact, that he built his multi-million-dollar career around it.
Chris Milholen reported:
“In this day in age, the mid-range is considered a bad shot. I got 19k points off the mid-range, so you tell me it’s a bad shot, I don’t believe you.”
When Aldridge entered the NBA in 2006, he was considered a rare specimen -he was a power forward who had a nice jumpshot.
He was able to sink post-up fadeaways and pick-and-pop jumpers like they were layups, and was also able to square up and score a basket in front of a defender.
This wasn’t common back in the early-to-late 2000s. There were only a handful of 7-footers who possessed this skill.
Aldridge’s First 40-Point Plus Game
There was this one game in 2014 that masterfully illustrates the beauty of the mid-range game and his ability to use the skill.
The Portland Trailblazers hosted the Denver Nuggets. In this game, Aldridge went off and scored more than 40 points for the first time in his career.
And the majority of his shots came from the mid-range (not a single shot beyond the perimeter).
He scored 44 on 15-29 shooting. And more importantly, his team won the game.
Benefits of Developing A Mid-Range Game
The reason why I’m sharing this game with you is to show that the mid-range is effective. You can be a major contributor by playing inside the 3-point line.
However, I’m not telling you to solely play there. I mean, his teammate, Damian Lillard, has made a career from shooting (and making) big 3s.
I just want to encourage you to develop a well-rounded, balanced game. You should be able to score from wherever.
You should also be skilled enough to take advantage of whatever the defence gives you.
Additionally, the mid-range jumper is a great confidence builder.
Jamal Crawford On The Mid-Range Game
NBA legend Jamal Crawford commented on this in a Ball Don’t Stop episode where he likened the mid-range jumper to a “jab in boxing.”
Via Basketball Network:
“The mid-range shot is like a jab in boxing. It keeps you honest. Just like everyone knows they need threes and layups, the defense knows that too. When you see a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, CP, or all of those great great players, are killing teams with that. It’s a jab, and it keeps you honest. Once you get that mid-range shot going, it’s a layup; it’s a fifteen-footer. Let’s play to our strengths; let’s not play to our weaknesses.”
The mid-range shot can be used to jumpstart your motor. Once you a make few, you’ll start to feel self-assured.
But that’s not all it can do. It’s also a great way to work on your shooting form.
NBA coach and champion Steve Kerr says that when practicing, you should always get comfortable with closer shots before taking a step out.
Why? Because these shots will heat you up and let you get comfortable with your shot. It’ll help you with muscle memory.
You can read more about his reasoning (and his shooting workout) here.
So, now that you’ve read about how great the mid-range game is, you’re probably wondering how you can work on it.
How To Improve Mid-Range Shot
Well, since you didn’t initially believe me, that hurt my feelings and I’m not going to show you.
Just kidding! I’m not that sensitive and bitter!
Anywhoo, the best game and drill you can do are:
These two drills are great because they’ll help you work on your shot fundamentals (form shooting), as well as help you master the fundamental mid-range jumpers (jab-step shot, one-dribble shot, etc.).
LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the best shooters in NBA history.
Not many his size would have put in the time to develop that skill (or have even been able to).
And because of it, he’s a balanced scorer who can score from many zones on the court.
So if you want to be a well-rounded shooter like the 7-time NBA All-Star, you have to start developing your mid-range game.
You can start your quest by doing the two activities I shared above.
P.S. If you’re struggling to get better at basketball, you may be doing something wrong. This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guides and Planners. They’re convenient training systems that will help you work on your fundamentals and conditioning. to learn more about them.