NEW YORK -- Garrett Temple, the Wizards' stand-in shooting guard while Bradley Beal is sidelined, has not been a great perimeter shooter during his NBA career. This summer, though, he vowed to improve his stroke to help earn minutes alongside John Wall instead of only playing behind him.
Early returns have been promising. Temple was given an opportunity to step in with Beal injured and has delivered, hitting a combined 11-26 (42 percent) from downtown in the preseason and first three regular-season games. Given the lack of perimeter shooting elsewhere on the roster, Temple's spot-up marksmanship is essential to keeping the Wizards' offense afloat until Beal comes back.
I spoke to Temple briefly at shootaround about his improved three-point proficiency. This is our conversation.
I read that you and Beal are having post-practice shooting contests. Who's winning?
Yeah, not since he hurt his arm. But before he hurt his arm, we were tied and I was on a two-game winning streak. Now it's tied 5-5.
He's encouraging you a lot with your shot, right? What is he telling you?
He's just telling me to stay in my shot and shoot it when I'm open. After I take my shots, he's talking to me from the bench, just being supportive. We're really close, so he's just telling me to continue shooting and stay with my shot.
Did the team specifically tell you to work on your shot this summer, or was this something in your own head that you felt like you needed to fix?
Nah, I think it was mostly about regaining my own confidence, because I haven't really changed my shot that much. In the D-League, I was a three-point shooter. So it was mostly self-confidence, and in the NBA, that's the biggest thing. Confidence. You have guys that shot the ball great, but the next season, they lose confidence and can't shoot threes.
So the biggest thing is the confidence factor. And just repetition. Constant repetition, all the time. And it's also about having people, having your coaching staff feel confidence in you.
Why do you think you lost your confidence, and what did you do to get it back?
Different things. Not knowing exactly where you were doing things, not really focusing enough, letting outside things influence you. Stuff like that. But at the end of the day, we have to find a way to tune all that out and worry about the task at hand.
Are you an 1,000 shot guy or an 1,000 make guy when you're working out in the summer? Because I've heard the merits of both.
At one point, when I first started coming through the league, I was an 1,000 make guy. But then I got to the point where I was working with guys who were saying it's not necessarily about how many you make when you shoot, it's about doing it the right way. If you shoot 500 times the exact same way every time and you make 350 or make 400, that's better than shooting and making 750 and doing it differently every time. It's about consistency. That's the biggest thing.
Is there someone there telling you, 'Hey, you might have made that, but it wasn't done exactly right'? How do you know you're not shooting it the right way?
You have coaches and stuff that tell you if you don't have as much lift as you're supposed to or different things. But as a shooter, you know when it feels right. At the end of the day, we're professionals at this. I've done this for 27 years, so I know if I'm shooting the ball the same way or not. In that aspect, it's pretty simple.
And you haven't changed anything [with your motion]? I heard the Wizards were working with [Trevor Ariza] on catching the ball right [last year].
I mean, you can't really work on catching it in the right spot.
Sorry, I meant getting ready to catch and shoot on time.
Oh, OK, yeah. Now, having your hands ready is a big thing I actually have worked on. [Player Development coach David] Atkins is having me focus a lot on that. And also, besides my form, maybe getting a little more arc on my shot. [Finally], going up and staying down and actually staying down. Sticking the landing and not running out of my shot.
Oh interesting. So even though it's after the shot, that's a big thing to work on?
Yeah, yeah. Sticking the landing.