The Steph Curry influence on Fred VanVleet's shooting evolution

Amit Mann and C.J. Miles discuss strength's of Steph Curry and Fred VanVleet, the luxury of having point guards who are effective screeners and shooters along with fundamentals behind getting shots off quickly.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: The thing I wanted to talk to you about is Fred VanVleet, Steph Curry. I've been seeing some similarities in Fred's movements. And they're a little akin to how Steph Curry moves without the ball and how Steph's utilized gravitational pull, stuff like that, as a screener. I sent you some clips. We'll play them over this discussion.

But from what I showed you, what are your thoughts on it? What are your takeaways?

CJ MILES: You don't want to switch. If I know that you're not a switching team, the more I can move, the more I can screen, the more confusion I can cause. Or I can make people late. And you add in the fact that I'm a weapon myself, being a shooter. That's why we love offenses that put shooters as screeners, because it gets defenders off their body.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: Guys kind of-- they have to make a decision. You stay on my body and I become a good screener, and whoever I screen for gets open shots. Or you hedge to help the guy that I screened. And then I get to take off. And now I get to start playing games. I get the slip screens. But I just need you to give me some breathing room or to make you guys miscommunicate.

And that's the biggest thing that Fred is doing, like Steph is doing, that's causing so much problems-- moving from side to side on the floor, making defensive shift. And then obviously, being able to shoot the ball is the icing on the cake.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. When you are trying to become a shooter like that-- like if I'm just thinking about this logically, you're going from screening to all of a sudden sprinting to the corner. And then you've got to turn your hips. You've got to vault up. And you've got to maintain balance and hit the shot.

Steph has been doing it for years. That's what makes him special. But Fred has developed these skills over time. And he is one of the best shooters in the NBA. But he's learning how to use that gravitational pull, like you had mentioned earlier, to actually lower defenses but also hit shots. I mean, that's hard.

There's a reason why Steph Curry is who he is. And I'm not comparing them. But having that ability to hit those kinds of shots, very difficult, it seems.

CJ MILES: No.

AMIT MANN: I mean, you would know.

CJ MILES: Those shots are kind of what separates guys, and the type of offense you can run, and the type of plays we can put. Because we have plenty of good shooters that are great stand-still.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: And obviously, most guys are better stand-still than on the move. But when you have guys that bring that dynamic of being able to catch and shoot on the go, and curls, and even put it down on the floor if he can't shoot it off to make different plans, it changes everything. Because now it's constant motion and constant movement.

And I think when you have point guards with point guard skills and to be able to shoot the ball in those positions, it's a whole world of things that you can do. Because they're going to make the right reads. They have a point guard's mind, not a shooter's mind like myself. Like, I'm letting it fly more often than none. That's just being honest because that's what I am.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: A point guard in that position's thought process is different. And obviously, I grew into being able to make certain reads and certain plays. But there's still reads and plays that Steph and Fred see that are different than a guy that's coming off strictly as a shooter.

AMIT MANN: If you're a kid and you're watching film of these two guys, Fred and Steph, and there are occasions where they're, like, full out sprinting towards the corner, and they stop on a dime, and they, again, vault up, completely vertical, completely balanced, they hit shots, how do you learn how to do stuff like that?

CJ MILES: Reps.

AMIT MANN: Reps, yes, but like physically, how do you do it?

CJ MILES: Unseen reps of just understanding the type of footwork that it takes. That's the biggest thing, is footwork. Your feet got to be precise. And you've got to learn to make that footwork second nature.

I just remember we trained footwork more than anything. And we break it down into smaller section. So I'm not going to run you across the floor every time to get you to that drill in the practice. I'm going to stand you two feet from where you're going to shoot it from. And we're going to get the steps down. It's like learning dance moves-- 1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 3, 4, whatever those steps are. And we're going to drill those steps over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over at a speed as close to game speed as possible. That's the biggest thing. Because if you just do it just to do it, like if you're half doing it, then you're not going to be able to produce in a game with that.

So we're going to drill those tiny feet and hip swivels. And we're going to work on that same hip swivel in the weight room to strengthen you in those positions. It's broken down to a science to be able to create the whole movement that you see. I think people think sometimes, just go shoot it is enough. But it's a whole mental breakdown.

AMIT MANN: How has Fred grown as a shooter? It's kind of a vague question. But I hope you give me a good answer. How has Fred grown as a shooter from the time that you were alongside him with the Bench Mob?

CJ MILES: One, like we talked about, the type of plays he's able to run and shoot off of now, the plays that are going to be in the clips that are going to be shown, that was not in his game at the time, at least not consistently. I'm not saying he couldn't do it. But it wasn't to the point where I was thinking that, as a coach, that I would run those plays for him.

Obviously, you get confidence from being in the gym. He is a direct-- he's direct imagery. , Like he's direct product of being in a gym.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

CJ MILES: That's the only way I could put that. And he's grown in just understanding the type of shots. His range has grown. He's picked up on the two for one. He took that from Kyle. He learned a lot of that from Kyle. But he's just understanding and having the confidence of knowing that I can make these shots.

- [INAUDIBLE] the slam.

- CJ, the great.