Ray Allen was more than a little surprised to hear on Monday afternoon that teammate Marquis Daniels had spent his summer vacation in the gym shooting a whopping 1,000 3-pointers every day.
"Huh?" Allen asked, blank stare across his face.
The normally well-spoken veteran was a little taken aback. He had to ask some clarifying questions. Was he attempting 1,000 3s a day, or was he actually making that many? Was he doing it all in one workout? Was he spreading it out across two or more sessions?
After getting his answers (1,000 attempts a day, generally over two workouts), Allen eventually nodded in approval.
"I can believe it," he said.
But this is the all-time 3-point shooting king, the guy who will inevitably shatter Reggie Miller's record for career trifectas later this season. And that being the case, Allen had a few words of wisdom to impart to the younger Daniels.
"I'll tell him that the truest form of getting 3s up is trying to incorporate moving back and forth," Allen said. "You really have to get your legs into it. Sometimes you're coming off of screens and shooting the 3. That's when you're going to get the ultimate form of work in that situation.
"I can count, probably on one hand, the number of times I've been wide open for a 3. When I'm shooting, I try to get used to someone running at me and someone being on the side of me. That's kind of what we all work on — battle-tested shots, where you know you're under duress."
But it's not like Daniels' time in Boston has been totally devoid of in-game opportunities to shoot the trey. In fact, he's hit a couple of big ones this past week in preseason action, including one that sank the Nets with 35 seconds left on Thursday night and another that capped off a 7-0 run to put the Raptors away Sunday.
Clearly, Daniels' confidence is rising with practice. Allen sees it.
"I just think he never shot the ball from 3 a whole lot," Allen said. "But now on this team, there's so much spacing, and he's wide open quite a bit. He definitely has the capability of making them. It's just a matter of him taking them."
This is Daniels' eighth season as a pro, with his third NBA team. He spent three seasons each with the Pacers and Mavericks. But in Boston, he's got a chance to come into his own as a bench scorer.
"I don't want to say he's different," Allen said of Daniels. "I've played against him for many years. He's been a player that I've guarded on many nights. He's scored 20-plus points in games in Indiana, and in Dallas, he was just as good. They went to the Finals. But I think each time you get an injury, it teaches us one, how to be wiser about our bodies, and two, how to become more efficient. You understand the game a little bit better."
Daniels has been through a litany of injuries in his career, most notably thumb and wrist ailments that derailed his first season in Boston. For his career, he's missed an average of 25 games a year. But he appears to be on the right track this fall toward coming back confident, having expanded his game.
"He's made a couple of 3s, but I'm not going to call that an expansion," coach Doc Rivers said. "But what he's doing better is he's more sure of himself offensively. I still want to get him in the post more, I think that's part of his game. On the elbows more, too. We're trying to do that."
Bit by bit, day by day, Marquis Daniels is growing. He's taking it a thousand shots at a time.