Q&A with Heat forward Luke Babbitt, who in the past talked coaches into allowing him to shoot threes

Miami Luke Babbitt shoots a 3 pointer during the Heat's victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Miami’s Luke Babbitt shoots a 3 pointer during the Heat’s victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI – At 6-foot-7, Luke Babbitt was the tallest player on his team in high school team. So he had some negotiating to do with coaches to allow him to shoot 3 pointers.

Now, even at 6-9, Babbitt has made a very nice living in the NBA shooting from long distance. He is one of six Heat players with more than 60 threes this season and has been one of their best shooters from beyond the arc of late, making 65.2 percent (15 of 23) in his last eight games.

We spoke with Babbitt about the 3-point shot for our latest Q&A installment.

Q: How does someone 6-9 become such a proficient 3-point shooter?

LB: I always just shot 3s and sometimes I had to work with my coaches a little bit because when you’re the biggest guy they want you inside. I just tried to work on it in the off-season and develop other aspects of my game with an eye on the next level, not just the NBA but when I was in high school I looking ahead to college. I wasn’t going to be a center in college.

Q: Was that a struggle to get the coaches to allow the tallest guy on the court most of the time to shoot threes?

LB: Yeah, it was. But you work with your coach. You kind of negotiate a little bit, you say ‘Ok, I’m going to shoot two or three a game and I’ll get in there and rebound and defend, too.’ In the off-season, in AAU, when you get into those games the competition is a little better, it’s a little more typical as far as you got a standard big man you can play a little bit as a shooter.

Q: Growing up did you watch any 3-point shooters to kind of pattern your game after?

LB: No, I didn’t try to copy anybody or model my game after anybody. I just tried to address the areas of my game I needed to defensively, athletically, physically. … tried to always improve my body to get better defensively, areas I needed to get better to get to the NBA.

Q: You’ve mostly been a catch-and-shoot guy but are you comfortable shooting off the dribble?

LB: I’m definitely catch and shoot, especially this year. With guys like Dion (Waiters) and Goran (Dragic), my job is give them space from the corner, lift it on the wing high to bring my man out so they will have those open lanes. And then if my man crashes I should be open. In years past I’ve played a little more off the dribble. This year I’m more focused. The three is so important in the NBA now, we’re shooting more threes as a team than usual. It’s a more efficient shot. If you can shoot 33 percent on threes is like shooting 50 percent to twos so I think the focus is get as many good looks at threes as you can.

Q: Where are you more comfortable, corner, wing or top of the key?

LB: I like being lifted up top that way if my man’s at the elbow Goran and Dion, (Josh Richardson), Tyler (Johnson) and those guys can kick it. If my man’s out toward the three they should have a wide open paint.

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