The New and Improved RHJ
The early season form of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been a big part of the reason why the Brooklyn Nets have gotten off to a better than expected start to their 2017-18 campaign. He’s continued his improvement on the defensive side of the floor but the real strides have been on the offensive end, namely his reformed jump shot. YES Network broadcaster, Sarah Kustok, mentioned before the team’s clash with the Knicks that she spoke to ‘The Hyphen’ about the changes he’s made. He mentioned to her the biggest change mechanically was that he altered to have a quicker and lower release point. Let’s take a closer look at the improvements RHJ has made early on in the new season.
Hollis-Jefferson has taken a total a 52 shots from the field and nailed 25 of them, factoring in the type of shots, that’s produced an EFG% of 50%. Let’s dig further into the type of shots he’s been taking:
His jump shot has been outstanding but his ability around the rim has certainly wavered. In terms of numbers he’s taking 10% more of his shots from the mid-range but is getting to the rim 8% less. Heck, if he continues to nail those mid-range jumpers then Coach Kenny is going to continue to encourage him to put them up. In fact, last year he was shooting a paltry 31% from mid-range whereas now that number has improved dramatically to 48%. He’s actually been better from long mid-range territory at 57% (14ft to the three-point line) than he has from short mid-range (4-14ft) with 44%. The new mechanics of his jump shot are certainly working, albeit with a small sample size.
Apart from at the rim, one area he’ll need to continue to focus on is around the perimeter. His numbers are fine from there (2/5) he just needs to continue to have confidence in putting them up. At this stage though don’t expect a high frequency from the Nets forward as he looks to build on his jump shot, one step at a time.
In comparison to last year, the only area of the floor Rondae’s shot has worsened is at the rim.
In the offseason GM Sean Marks enlisted the help of a sports psychologist who had a significant effect on the playing roster as a whole, including Rondae himself who told the New York Post:
“Last season, yeah, I feel like I held onto things a little longer than I should, made it bigger than what it was, as far as just having that next play mentality. It’s something I had to work on over the summer.”
With that confidence and maturity has also come an improved free throw percentage. He is shooting an outstanding 90.6% from the charity stripe, up on 74.5% from last year. A lot of experts claim that an improved free throw rate can also in turn help a player's three-point shooting. The opposite has certainly been the case with Thunder guard, Andre Roberson. It remains to be seen if Rondae can continue the trend as the season progresses.
When you factor in the fact that Hollis-Jefferson is still only 22 years of age (third youngest on the roster behind Russell and Allen) the upside to his offensive game is tremendous. Combine that with his elite defensive nous and a 7’3 wingspan, the Nets have themselves another core piece to build around. We’ll leave the final word to ‘The Hyphen’ himself:
“I still have some improving to do. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
All stats provided by NBA Stats and Cleaning the Glass.