LA Clippers: This is a major reason Kawhi Leonard is a truly elite shooter

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Kawhi Leonard almost shot 50/40/90 en route to yet another First-Team All-NBA selection last season for the LA Clippers.

The San Diego State product reclaimed his status as one of the elite shooters in the league while going 51.2% from the field, 39.8% from deep, and 88.5% from the stripe.

I had the chance to talk to NBA Offensive Efficiency Specialist Roger Galo, who’s the Founder of The Galo Shot-Making Method, about what he sees in Leonard’s shot. Galo’s method is unique to the standard shooting motion that’s been taught since the 1960’s. He sees elements of his shot method being utilized by many of the league’s top superstars, such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.

Galo played D-III ball in college, and was recruited by about 14 mid-majors. Jimmy Valvano even recruited him. Even the Seattle Supersonics had contacted him to play, and they were looking for him because of his shooting.

He explained to me that Leonard actually utilizes one of the most key elements of his shot. To do this, Klaw uses his giant hands to his advantage.

Kawhi Leonard’s hands are the key to how he’s been a top shooter in this game.

Kawhi Leonard’s shooting hand has been a major advantage for the best player in the Western Conference.

“It’s the hand,” said Galo. “Which back in the day used to be used as an excuse for why someone couldn’t shoot well…Kawhi’s hand does not break at the wrist.”

Galo is of course referring to the age-old philosophy that shooters should follow through with their wrist to the fullest possible extent. Galo referenced the saying that coaches use when teaching shooting, when they teach the shooter to follow through their wrist to where their wrist/arm looks like a ‘gooseneck’ as they say. He also referenced the other saying commonly used: ‘Reach your hand in the cookie jar’ when following through with your shot.

Leonard doesn’t follow through to this extent, despite that being advised against for decades because shooting coaches stress that breaking at the wrist like that creates rotation. Galo disagrees, and Leonard clearly does as well.

“The ball’s left your hand already before (you break at the wrist). The ball’s already rotating before that,” said Galo.

Perhaps Klaw’s Clipper teammates need to focus on this as well. As of my interview with Galo (Tuesday), the Clippers were shooting 32.4% from deep (21st in basketball), and 71.4% from the free throw line (24th in basketball).

There are other elements to Galo’s shooting method of course, but a big part of why Leonard is so special is because he’s mastered this aspect of it.

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“Kawhi might not even realize that he’s doing it, but he’s doing it,” said Galo.