There was a lot of fuss when a Devin Vassell video of shooting in an awkward form made the social media rounds last month.
The mere fact that Vassell had to address it during his in-person workouts, which included the New York Knicks, only shows the power that social media wields these days. But with that power, it should come with great responsibility.
Video that’s been circulating on Twitter. Devin Vassell’s form has been completely changed for the worse. pic.twitter.com/pxG0DbQxFg
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) October 15, 2020
Setting the record straight
Here’s Devin Vassell setting the record straight with that viral video of him shootinf awkwardly. pic.twitter.com/jKWIw0I15P
— alder almo (@alderalmo) November 12, 2020
Fortunately for Vassell, the ‘shooting-gate scandal’ happened before he went to in-person workouts with the Knicks (No. 8), Golden State Warriors (No. 2), Atlanta Hawks (No. 6), Boston Celtics (No. 14), and the Orlando Magic (No. 15).
“Of course, I’ve seen the video too. I felt I don’t have any reason to change my jump shot. I haven’t changed my shot,” Vassell defended himself during his media zoom call on Thursday.
He said the viral video was shot towards the end of one of his workouts, where they were having fun.
“I guess we’re shooting it a lot deeper, from the regular NBA three-point line and I just think it’s from the angle where he took it, it made it looked like uncomfortable. I kind of had it farther from normally what I do but I’ve never attempted to change my jump shot and won’t change it because I had a lot of success with the jump shot that I have right now,” Vassell said.
“The video came out and literally next week, I had my workouts. Once they saw it in person, everything was fine. It’s something we can laugh about it now.”
More than a 3-and-D player
Vassell is one of the more fascinating prospects of this draft that is widely considered unpredictable but filled with hidden gems.
He profiles as a 3-and-D player, but he says he has a lot more to offer.
Vassell made 70 three-pointers throughout his two-year stay at Florida State on a 41.8 percent clip. The 70 isn’t that much of a sample, but context matters. He was only a fringe rotational player as a rookie in a stacked team to put it in its proper perspective. Even during his sophomore year, where he was the star of the Seminoles team, which won the regular ACC championship, he needed to fit his game within coach Leonard Hamilton’s equal opportunity system.
There’s a lot more room for Vassell to grow.
Hamilton gave his star player a ringing endorsement, raving about his transformation during those two years that said a lot about Vassell’s character, patience, and coachability.
“Sometimes, people evaluate all the physical attributes but I think it’s very difficult to evaluate, which is the most important thing, is that your mentality, your emotions in the game, your IQ, your ability to make decisions, and how you respond to stressful situations. Well, that’s what they call it the “It” factor, and Devin, he checks all those boxes. And the good thing about him is his best basketball is still ahead of him,” Hamilton told Empire Sports Media a couple of months ago.
The intangibles are hard to quantify on videos. But the tangible aspects of Vassell’s game — outside shooting and his defensive skillset — have drawn NBA teams to him, particularly the Knicks who went all the way to his hometown in Atlanta, Georgia to watch his controversial shot in person.
“I worked out at this church and we put an NBA three-point line. It’s a great gym and we kinda simulate everything. Coach [Tom] Thibodeau was definitely at the workout. He’s a great coach,” Vassell said.
Perhaps Thibodeau was looking at someone who fits the mold of the player he covets for the Knicks — a mobile wingman with defensive tenacity and shooting to boot.
“We talked about defense. We talked about kinda what their team is looking forward and I feel I can help that team and kinda fill that void,” Vassell said.
He’s confident that he’s shown enough to merit the Knicks’ eighth pick.
“Everything went extremely well with the Knicks,” Vassell said. “It’s going to be a blessing if I can be able to be a part of that team.”
But whether the feeling is mutual or not, we’ll have to find out next Wednesday.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo