Kill spot is a Dunlap-ism that now pervades the vocabulary of the Charlotte Bobcats.
By new coach Mike Dunlaps description, a kill spot is a place hopefully places where each of his players is almost certain to make a shot. Obviously that varies from player-to-player: Bismack Biyombos kill spot is within reach of the rim, while Byron Mullens extends to all along the 3-point line.
But there are team-wide guidelines for shot selection that Dunlap has reinforced from the day he arrived in June:
Any drive to the rim is of high value because it both creates a high-percentage shot and comes with the bonus of potential free throws. A 3-pointer, particularly a corner 3, is a good idea because if you make it, you get a one-point bonus, and if you dont theres a decent chance for an offensive rebound.
And the least valuable shot is a guarded jumper just inside the 3-point arc: Why not step 12 inches back, outside the arc? Its marginally more difficult, yet choosing it adds another point for every make.
All that seems pretty obvious, and yet its not how the Bobcats always operated. Dunlap and his coaching staff broke down video from last season and discovered the Bobcats might have defaulted to guarded, 2-point jump shots more than any team in the NBA.
That led to the worst offense in the league: Last in scoring, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Clearly that was a factor in a 7-59 record.
So Dunlap has been drilling them on when they shoot (how far into the shot clock) and where they shoot. He knows that made his players a little self-conscious in the preseason. But he thinks it will pay dividends throughout the season, which starts Friday against the Indiana Pacers.
Maybe theyre thinking too much, but I believe in the methodology of teaching. This will come along as a conditioned response down the road, Dunlap said at practice Monday.
Dunlap noted that his players got to the rim nine times in the last exhibition, Friday in Dallas, and that generally his better shooters are taking a majority of the shots. As Dunlap said, All of us cant be scorers.
While the philosophy is changing, the results havent.
In a 1-6 preseason, the Bobcats still averaged under 40 percent shooting and under 90 points per game. But the players are buying into the message.
Get to our kill spots (shoot from) 15 feet instead of 18-20 feet. Or take a step back to the 3-point and get another point, said co-captain Gerald Henderson. I never looked to shoot 3s (before). Now were looking to get in the gaps, get to the rim first.
Were still creating a style of play. Its only been a month. It will mold itself with more repetition.
Point guard Kemba Walker sees progress, too: You can see people thinking, Kill spot. Guys were used to taking one dribble and throwing it up. But if you get closer, this gets a lot easier.
• Bobcats owner Michael Jordan addressed the players at the end of practice Monday. Henderson and Dunlap both said Jordans primary message was stick together: That the only way to fix a team that went 7-59 last season is for the players, coaches, front office and owner to stay on the same page.
Hendersons take on Jordans speech: Mike is a competitive guy. His biggest thing is hes in this thing with us. We lost 59 games last year and he feels just as much a part of that as us.
From top-to-bottom, everyone cares about whats going on. Hes going to do the best he can from his position to help us win. Were all together in this thing.
Dunlaps take on Jordans speech: How to link up and stay connected through some disappointment.
Yet he can see the improvement in the team, seeing marked improvement in effort levels and our communication defensively. Hes a power voice a Hall of Fame voice, with its own strength.