On the occasion of hitting his second career 3PM Wednsday night against Houston to close out the first quarter, I'd like revisit the prospect of Elton’s developing a true outside shot, something he’s never had.  Elton has improved his range and become automatic from about 15-17 feet, particularly from the left side, but he hasn’t shown any proficiency beyond that.  While this is true for a number of post players – Tim Duncan, most prominently – there are some big men in the Association who came into the pros with little more than a  with nothing much beyond fifteen feet, but developed a long-range shot until much later in their career.  For instance, in his fifth season in the league, 1999-2000, Rasheed Wallace played in 81 games with Portland.  He scored 1,325 points on 8 [eight!] 3PMs.

What allows one inside player to develop a smooth outside strokes while another maintains his accuracy – and maybe even improves on it – but never expands his range.  Is it a question of mere desire, or are there mechanical variables at work?   David Thorpe, ESPN.com’s technical and tactical maven, was kind enough to address the question of Elton Brand’s potential as a long-range shooter:

It is sometimes an easy thing to do -- that is, increase a player’s shooting range.  But for Brand, not so easy.  His shooting mechanics actually limit his range, due to a power problem. 

Specifically, Thorpe refers to Elton’s “arm motion” during his shot.   “[T]he track of the ball goes behind his head a bit.”  Thorpe’s overall prognosis, though, suggests that it’s certainly not an impossibility.  “[W]ith sufficient time invested and a willingness to fail for awhile first, he could do it.” 

Imagine the possibilities.  Any idea how indefensible Elton Brand would be if he could shoot from beyond 22 feet?  Any doubt that forcing the opponent to guard Elton Brand above the arc with a big man would do wonders for Chris Kaman's game?  If some of those big men had to play Elton close from 23 feet, you think Elton might be able to take them off the dribble? 

..Brand from the far left corner….Biiiin-go!  Another three-pointer for Brand!