Shooting is the most essential basketball skill because it directly causes scoring which determines outcomes of games. Beyond the obvious, remember that even skills such as passing and ball handling, the possession ends with a shot, one that must be converted for all those skills to matter. Good individual shooting, therefore, is a useful team skill because it enables opens up for floor for the entire offense to do their thing. It creates space, which keeps defenders from double-teaming your playmakers.
[Related: Develop these skills in practice and show defenses how you shoot the basketball like a pro.]
Outside shooting doesn’t just help break down zone defenses, it also helps against man-to-man schemes. Good outside shooting comes not solely from the act of shooting, but all the movement off the ball prior to and then catching the ball and establishing triple threat position. Defenses don’t just forget and leave shooters open.
Pure shooting threats like Ray Ray, Reggie Miller, Kyle Korver and Steve Kerr maneuver and cut around half a dozen screens and play hide and seek for entire possessions, quarters and games for them to just get off a handful of open shot attempts. When they catch the ball, the pure shooter must immediately go low and set up in triple threat position, at which point he/she must make snap decisions: take the shot, fake the shot, make a pass, dribble-drive or take a step back and reset the offense. The snap decision itself is a skill that must become automatic to keep the defenders on their toes, no pun intended.
A direct benefit of improving your shooting skill is increased confidence in the rest of your game. Seeing one, two and three shots go in the bucket eases the player’s state of mind and helps him or her gain rhythm which goes a long way in every facet of the game: passing, defending, rebounding, dribbling, and furthermore, shooting itself.