How Tyrese Haliburton developed his unorthodox -- but successful -- shooting motion

INDIANAPOLIS — Tyrese Haliburton stands on the court furthest from the entrance at the Pacers’ practice facility, lifting up 3-pointers from the corner. After taking five, he jogs a few feet to his left to do the same from the wing. Then from the top of the key.

It’s a common drill. He’ll soon finish in the opposite corner, having taken 25 shots. The goal is to make at least 20. Regardless of the result, the shooting motion for Haliburton is always the same. The ball comes up slightly off-kilter, reaching its highest point above his right shoulder. He grips it with hands on either side; his right slides across to get into a traditional wrist-snapping motion at the last second. He also holds the ball further away from his body than most in the NBA. There’s a slight hitch just before his release.

In short, it’s not how a coach would teach someone to shoot. It is, however, what works for the Pacers’ point guard and franchise player.

Haliburton misses his final attempt from the far corner, but it doesn’t matter. He had already made 21 and gets to reap the reward of doing so.

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“Let’s go!” he yells as he jogs diagonally across the practice courts. His destination is the gold bell hanging from the wall. He gives it a few quick, sharp rings, a privilege reserved for those who make 20 3-pointers.

Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton shoots a 3 during warmups as the Pacers host the Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Feb. 16, 2022.
Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton shoots a 3 during warmups as the Pacers host the Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Feb. 16, 2022.

Haliburton is a career 41% shooter from beyond the arc in three NBA seasons. At Iowa State, he shot 42%. He’s used the same form for almost his entire life. At every level, coaches have tried to change it.

“It only takes one or two workouts for them to leave me alone,” he said.

His unorthodox mechanics began when he was an overambitious kid in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He wanted to shoot on a 10-foot basket but didn’t have the strength to get the ball there with a typical motion. His unusual form was the result of compensating for that.

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It’s evolved like any other part of his game. He keeps the ball higher throughout the shot than he did in high school, with less of an exaggerated gather and windup.

But the basic fundamentals of his shot aren’t going anywhere. They work for him, and he’s been shooting that way for so long that a traditional jumper would feel awkward.

“I used to think I’m not strong enough to get it there and shoot it over other guys,” Haliburton said. “Well, it’s not that. It’s just mechanically, it doesn’t feel right.

“It’s gone in at a high clip for a while, so I don’t have any concerns about it.”

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton discusses his atypical shooting form