Ask most players what constitutes a high-quality shot, and you'll likely find layups, drives and slashes to the hoop at the top of their lists. Ask Orlando Magic forward Pat Garrity
, and the response would be quite different.
Pat Garrity has rewarded Magic coach Doc Rivers' faith in his shooting.
Fernando Medina/NBAE Photos
Garrity, in his third NBA season, is better off throwing them up from three-point land than pounding it into the paint. So much so that the 24-year-old's statistical line reads like a misprint -- his three-point percentage of 43.6, which ranks seventh in the league, is higher than his overall field goal percentage of 38.7.
"That is kind of strange," agreed the 6-9, 238-pounder out of Notre Dame. "I think a lot of that is because on my threes, usually my feet are set and they're open shots. The twos I was shooting a lot, maybe I was putting the ball on the floor or taking it to the basket, which isn't really a strength of mine. My strength is shooting it off the catch."
It wasn't Garrity's desire to concentrate on playing from the perimeter as much as it was the wish of Magic coach Doc Rivers.
"What I don't want him doing is driving," said Rivers, who has gotten on Garrity at times for not shooting enough when he has a good look. "He told me he wanted to prove to me that he could do it, and I told him, 'Uh, we'll see that in the summertime. But you don't have to prove that now.' Anytime he's open, I want him to shoot."
That's because, in Rivers' words, Garrity is "a big-game player." In 75 games, all but one coming off the bench, Garrity is averaging 8.3 points in 20.7 minutes. He has scored in double figures 26 times, including a season-high 21 points against Milwaukee on November 27, and a 20-point effort on 7-for-7 shooting against Toronto on April 1.
Garrity is a key member of an Orlando bench that has been depleted this season due to injuries. With Grant Hill
and Dee Brown
lost for virtually the entire season, Tracy McGrady
was the court leader, and rookie Mike Miller
had to play big minutes for the Magic, which has used 16 different starting lineups this season. But Garrity's steady play has been a welcome constant for Orlando, in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and back in the playoffs after missing the postseason twice in the past three years.
"Sometimes you find yourself being tentative," he said, "and that's one thing you can't do as a bench player, because you're not playing a lot of minutes. But the minutes you are in are important, and you've got to attack."
In Garrity's case, from long range.