The picture above this lede is of Los Angeles Lakers guard David Nwaba dribbling the basketball, rather than shooting it. There is a reason for that. When searching both USA Today and Getty Images’ archives of photos, there are zero pictures of Nwaba shooting the basketball.
That’s fitting, considering that Nwaba took just five 3-pointers over his 20 games with the Lakers. He didn’t fire away much more in the D-League, taking only 16 threes (and making four) in 40 games with the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
For comparison, Nwaba’s fellow rookie Ivica Zubac took 11 threes in 14 games in the D-Fenders’ 3-point happy offense.
The reason for Nwaba’s lack of shooting was an awareness of a weakness in his game, and it’s one he apparently plans to address this offseason. In what was basically a footnote of Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times’ feature story on Nwaba’s journey from University High School to the NBA, Nwaba said he “plans to work on his shooting” in Las Vegas Summer League.
Adding a 3-point shot is never as easy as NBA Draft analysts make it sound when offering up the cliche “if he just develops a jump shot...” qualifier about various prospects, but becoming even just a league-average shooter from distance would raise Nwaba’s ceiling several notches. He is already a standout defender and dynamic athlete, so if he was able to add a long-range element to his game (again, no easy task) then Nwaba would become the type of versatile “three-and-D” player all teams crave.
Whether he can do it will be answered over the next several months, but no one can say Nwaba isn’t doing his best to maximize his potential. He could even add a few pictures of himself shooting to the range of options writers have to pick from, too.