Jerry Stackhouse is coaching Toronto’s
D-League G League affiliate in hopes of landing an NBA job, and the former All-Star apparently isn’t afraid to put his talent evaluation skills to the ultimate test.
Stackhouse, who played with or against every one of the 30 most prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history, believes one of his players on the Raptors 905 might be better than them all. That would be Brady Heslip, a 6-foot-2 Canadian-born guard who went undrafted out of Baylor University in 2014 and has since played in the D-League, Italy and notorious basketball hotbed Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Believe it or not, Stackhouse thinks Heslip is a better shooter than Kyle Korver, J.J. Redick, Klay Thompson and, yes, even Stephen Curry. That may sound like something that would come out of LaVar Ball’s mouth, and to the best of my knowledge Heslip isn’t Stackhouse’s first-born son, but the 18-year NBA veteran stood his ground in a conversation with ESPN’s Zach Lowe on his “Lowe Post” podcast.
Heslip’s name came up when the two were discussing Stackhouse’s rigid practice sessions, which feature something he calls 17’s — running from sideline to sideline 17 times. When his players had a handful of sprints remaining, Stackhouse would put Heslip on the free throw line. If the 27-year-old made the foul shot, the team would only have two sprints left. If he missed, they went back to 10.
And here’s the eyebrow-raising exchange around the podcast’s 20-minute mark:
Stackhouse: “I get a Brady Heslip, who I think is probably one of, if not the best shooter in the world.”
Lowe: “Wow! Better than Steph Curry?”
Stackhouse: “I put him to the test with Steph Curry any day. He’s that good of a shooter.”
When his career is through, Stephen Curry will be considered the greatest shooter who ever lived, and Jerry Stackhouse somehow believes one Brady Heslip is better, so take that for what it’s worth.
Geez, Jerry, anybody on your G League roster that’s a better scorer than Russell Westbrook, a better defender than Kawhi Leonard and a better all-around player than LeBron James? His Raptors 905 did win the developmental league championship this past season, but that sort of statement sounds more like an AAU coach trying to sell his kid to a college recruiter than a guy angling for an NBA job.
Except, there’s a funny thing about shooting. You can be a legend in an empty gym. When I was a kid, there was this guy named Dave Hopla who made the rounds at youth basketball camps. He literally put on a clinic. The man never missed, and to the best of my knowledge he never got past Division II.
The point being that Heslip may very well be “one of, if not the best shooter in the world,” depending on the gym, but that doesn’t mean he’s as good as Curry with Patrick Beverley hanging all over him.
All that said, Heslip is a pretty darn prolific shooter against the defenses he’s faced over the years. He was more accurate from 3-point range in three seasons at Baylor (43.3 percent on 829 attempts) than Curry was in three seasons at Davidson (41.2 percent on 1,004 attempts). On a total of 1,465 3-point attempts in the D-League, abroad or for Team Canada since graduating, Heslip has shot 43.2 percent, including 41.8 percent on 9.1 attempts for the Raptors 905 this past season. Not bad. Not bad at all.
By comparison, though, Curry is shooting 43.8 percent on 4,379 attempts against superior defenses since entering the NBA, so maybe Stackhouse should watch some more Golden State Warriors film.
For the record, Heslip has received an NBA summer league invite in three of the past four seasons and appeared in the NBA preseason two of the past three seasons. He shot 5-for-8 from 3-point range in four preseason games for the Raptors in 2016, but he’s just 1-for-5 for the Chicago Bulls this summer.
Still, I’m all for a 3-point shootout between Curry and Heslip, so long as Dave Hopla is invited, too.
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