I never said he was going to make it in the NBA. The question was, "How do we know he's a good shooter." In terms of the ability to shoot a basketball, we can be reasonably sure that he's a good shooter. His mechanics are good (not perfect); he's demonstrated the ability to shoot in games in college; and I'm sure he's shown the Cs brass that he can shoot in practice sessions.
But you are correct as well. It may never translate into a NBA game. We've spoken a lot about possible reasons - but I think the biggest part is that great shooters have to have a "lack of conscience" and Nesmith seems to be too conscientious. Every time he touches the ball, he seems to be thinking "What should I do on this possession" instead of just playing.
Nesmith has 232 career 3Ps. That's not even 1/2 of season for good 3P shooters. I really believe that more than anything, he needs to be able to play regular NBA minutes and not have to worry about whether he makes or miss. Not sure that opportunity is going to come on the Cs. Maybe this finals run will allow Ime to tell AN that he has six weeks; he's going to get 20-25 mpg no matter what; and he should just go ahead and play.
I think it might more properly be termed self-consciousness, which was certainly deadly this year. I think the foot-sliding stuff is something he could learn. I think he's so eager to show he's hustling that he gets himself out of position overreacting. We've seen early career guys do this to themselves -- it's just it tends to be athletic bigs who are eager to get blocked shots. I'm not ready to make a determination there.
But the sudden loss of confidence is much more concerning to me. He had a 57% TS his rookie year in obviously limited minutes, showed the ability to slash and hustled like a guy who knew he had to work hard to play in the NBA. He still hustles, but everything else went out the window. It's like the second the ball hits his hands he starts panicking.
A sports psychologist might do him wonders, but I wouldn't bet on it. He's only 22, and while there's no reason he can't overcome this stuff with the right mindset, he also has to do it on the biggest stage imaginable. That's tough for anybody. On the other hand, the guys who hustle and play hard tend to hang around (and also don't like to give up!), even if they're in their head about this or that.
I like Nesmith a lot, just in terms of his personality and grit. I've had the yips before, and overcame it (but on a much smaller stage!), so I have a soft spot for guys like him who work hard but struggle.