NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and the 10 Most Effective Pull-Up Jump Shots

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and the 10 Most Effective Pull-Up Jump Shots

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Kobe Bryant is still one of the very best players in the NBA, and one of his most effective weapons is his pull-up jump shot.

    A great pull-up jumper requires a lot of skill and athleticism. 

    Speed, quickness and ball-handling help to get defenders back on their heels. 

    A quick shot and release is important in keeping the defender away from the shooter's face. 

    And good elevation doesn't hurt either (although a couple guys on this list will prove it's not a requirement).

    There are plenty of guys in the league that have good pull-up jumpers, but these 10 players are the best...

10: Dirk Nowitzki

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    If this slide show was about the best turnaround or fadeaway jumper, Dirk would be a strong contender for the top spot.  His pull-up game isn't the best, but it's still elite.

    Even if his pull-up mechanics aren't as uncanny as some other players in the league, his general shooting accuracy makes him an easy pick for the top 10.

    He's been considered a great shooter for his entire career, but this season has been his best in terms of percentages.

    His 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range are both career-highs.

    Like I said in the intro, great elevation is not a requirement for a great pull-up.  In Dirk's case, it helps that he's seven feet tall.

9: Kevin Martin

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    Kevin Martin might be the most underrated scorer in the NBA.  He's averaging 23.3 points a game this season and he's been averaging over 20 in each of the last five years.

    One of the skills that allows him to be such an effective scorer is his pull-up jump shot.

    He has a very funky release that probably makes plenty of shooting coaches cringe.  His shot proves that repetition is the most important part of developing into a great shooter.

8: Deron Williams

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    Deron Williams mid-range pull-up is nearly unstoppable. 

    His ball-handling and quickness keep defenders guessing all the time.  In the rare cases he can't create some space with those tools, his strength can also do the trick.

    Once he gets that little bit of space (generally set up with one of the league's best crossovers), he elevates very high and has a nice release.

    Defenders have to respect his pull-up ability and that really helps him get to the rim (when a defender plays him tight he can blow by them).

    If he re-signs with New Jersey, the trade that brought him there will go down as the best from this year's deadline.

7: Paul Pierce

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    Paul Pierce is the other player who proves that great elevation isn't required for a great pull-up.

    He doesn't have great top-end speed, and he doesn't lift far off the floor on his shots, but he still gets them off. 

    He uses decent quickness with the ball and great offensive IQ to get to his spots and go into his shots in the very moment he has an opportunity.

6: Monta Ellis

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    It's all about speed and quickness for the pull-up of Monta Ellis.

    He's one of the quickest players in the NBA.  He uses that to not only get to where he wants to shoot, but to get into his shooting motion extremely quickly.

    He's just 6'3", but his leaping ability helps him elevate over a lot of guys that try to defend him.

5: Joe Johnson

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    The mechanics on Joe Johnson's pull-jumper are impeccable.

    His shooting motion is textbook.  It's the kind of shot that makes announcers say, "Young kids learning how to shoot need to copy this guy's form."

    Johnson is athletic, but not elite in that regard.  What helps him get his pull-up jumpers away is his height (6'8"), and his fundamentals.

4: Stephen Curry

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Stephen Curry is in the middle of his second season in the NBA, but he's already emerged as one of the most exciting guards in the league.

    People who haven't watched much Warriors basketball over the last two seasons got a chance to see how quick and athletic Curry is when he won the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night.

    His ball-handling was also on display that night.  He uses his great handle to break almost any defender down, and raise up for a silky jumper at the perfect moment.

    Now, on to what most people know Stephen Curry for.  Once he breaks down his defenders, he possesses one of the best shots in the world.

3: Kevin Durant

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    When it comes to having a great pull-up jump shot, Kevin Durant has a lot of things going in his favor.

    He's arguably the toughest player in the league to defend.  He's listed at 6'9", but has a wingspan that measures almost 7'5".  That length makes any shot he takes nearly unblockable.

    That alone could makes his pull-up ridiculous.  But that's not all Durant brings to the table in this discussion.

    He also handles the ball extremely well for a player of his size.  That, in combination with his quickness and athleticism, helps make defenders look baffled against him.

2: Kobe Bryant

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    Even at 32, with almost 15 full NBA seasons of experience, Kobe Bryant is still playing at a ridiculously high level.

    Right now, there really isn't a single player in the league that can consistently shut down Kobe's pull-up game.

    His release is extremely quick, and he always seems to strike at the exact moment that his defender shows any sign of a let up.

    What sets this pull-up jumper apart from any other is Kobe's killer instinct.  When the Lakers really need a basket, Bryant almost seems to will the ball through the basket.

1: Steve Nash

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    Steve Nash doesn't play in Washington, but he is a wizard with the ball.  No one in the league can break down a defender with the dribble like Nash.

    And as soon as he has his defender guessing, he'll either hit the open man with a perfect pass, or raise up for one of the best jump shots in NBA history.

    He leads all active players in career true shooting percentage (a figure that adds a little value to three-pointers and combines all shooting percentages into one number).

    He shoots 49 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range for his career.  Since he came to Phoenix, he's hit 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.

    Somehow, he's getting better with age.

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