Inside the Game: Eddie House and the art of sharpshooting
|01.20.10 at 12:22 am ET|
When the NBA announces the contestants of the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout in early February, Eddie House hopes to see his name on the lineup.
“The wind can’t stop me. The cold weather can’t stop me,” he proclaims in a promotional video in which he shovels snow off the court to shoot treys in a hat and winter coat.
Even when it’s cold out, House has the ability to get hot from long-range. Yet even though he has made his mark in Boston as a 3-point threat, he didn’t always spend most of his time behind the arc.
Seven years before he signed with the Celtics, House was a second-round pick of the Heat in 2000. He had played four years at Arizona State, where he left as the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,044 points) and tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most points scored in a Pac-10 game (61).
But by the time House (who is listed at 6-foot-1) squared off against NBA players, he quickly realized he couldn’t score at ease like he had on his way to the pros. And since he was coming off the bench, his coaches weren’t looking for him to score 30 points every night either.
So he began to adapt. House took his jumper and moved further and further away from the basket. As his role on the court changed, so did his game.
He honed in on his long-range shot, a decision early in his career that has paid long-term dividends in his career. House has spent the last three years as one of the Celtics’ offensive go-to guys off the bench and has proven himself to be reliable down the stretch. Last season he broke Danny Ainge’s single-season 3-point shooting percentage (44.4 percent). This season he is shooting 37.1 percent from behind the arc, second on the team only to Paul Pierce.
As part of WEEI.com’s “Inside the Game” series with the Celtics, House explains that even though he may be known for his 3-point skills, it took more than just treys (think 1,000 shots a day in the offseason) to become a successful sharpshooter:
Knowing his role: House shot less than 35 percent from 3-point range during his first three NBA seasons. After perfecting his craft, he has ranked in the top 10 among all players in two seasons.
“I think I probably developed [3-point shooting] more in the league more than anywhere else. Being in college and high school, you’re the guy who’s getting the most buckets and you’re like the man on the team, to where you come to the league and you have to become a role player. It was a role that because I was able to shoot the ball, that was the role that I was given so I had to start working on it. … Just repetition, practice, practice, practice, practice.”
Art appreciation: Hitting 3-pointers may look flashy during a game, but House always enjoys seeing more fundamental shots on the court.
“I don’t just love the 3-pointer — I love the jump shot. I think it’s kind of a lost art. You don’t have too many jump shooters in the game anymore. You have a lot of set shooters. I think it’s a pretty art that’s something that’s gone away from the game. There aren’t too many jump shooters at a premium, so to be one of them in the league, I think if you can shoot the basketball, you have a great chance of staying in this league for a while.”
No time to waste: One of House’s biggest strengths is his ability to quickly get rid of the ball — into the basket. His efficient catch and release not only helps the tempo of the game, it also helps him get better looks at the hoop.
“I guess if I took too long, then I’d probably get my shot blocked. So it’s just something that I developed by not trying to get my shot blocked. Knowing I’m not the tallest guy on the court, if I take too long I might get it blocked so it’s something you have to adapt to, and it wound up happening.”
Counting their weapons: Even though House is part of the Celtics’ second unit, he often plays alongside the starters. The combination of offensive weapons poses problems for their opponents.
“[Ray Allen is] another guy that has to be accounted for. You know they’re not going to help off him — you know they’re not really going to help off me — but at times if I’m out on the court and it’s Ray, Paul, Kevin [Garnett], [Rajon] Rondo, when they drive, someone’s got to give, and usually I’m the guy that they give from, so I get open shots.”
Two was enough: Surprisingly, House’s most significant shot was not a 3-pointer. He remembers a clutch jumper during the Celtics’ historic comeback against the Lakers in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
“It wasn’t a 3-point shot. I think the biggest shot I made in my career was against the Lakers. It put us up when we were making that comeback from being down 24 in the third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, we ran a play, I set a pick and rolled out, Paul [Pierce] dribbled out, hit me in the corner and I hit the shot. It put us up for the first time and we never looked back. I think that was the most important shot I made in my career.”
Second generation shooting: The oldest of Houses’ three sons, Jaelen, is already gravitating toward the arc. Oh, yeah, he’s only 8 years old.
“Jaelen tries to shoot it right now. He can make college 3-pointers. He started this past summer because he plays with older kids that are around 12. They’re shooting the shot and it’s easy for them, and he’s trying and it’s too much of a push for him. We never work on those things when we work out. I have him work on everything else but the first thing he always wants to do is go behind the 3 and shoot the shots. I don’t know why.”