A renowned Physical Therapist teaches the concept "proximal stability before distal mobility." In layman's terms, this means "master what is close before attempting what is far." In basketball terms, this means that until you can make 95 to 100% of your uncontested lay-ups, defined as "any shot, from any location, within 1 to 3 feet of the basket," you should not attempt a longer-range shot.
Now, this runs counter to what seems natural. After all, a shot from distance is worth 3 points, yes, and a shot from close range is only worth 2 points. And, the ESPN highlights usually feature slam dunks (for our purposes, this is not considered a lay-up) or long-range heaves. Drive down any residential street with basketball hoops, and it seems that the preference is for the shooter, regardless of age, to fire bombs from distance. After all, it just seems too easy to shoot from 1 or 2 or 3 feet away.
However, the lay-up is the essential foundational and non-replaceable building block in the construction of any great shooter. If you can't make a shot, guaranteed, from in close, why would you expect to attain excellence from a distance further? Yes, it's boring. Yes, it seems too easy. Yes, there's little glory and no excitement. But the long-term consequences demand that a great shooter first prove his greatness close to the basket, before venturing far from the basket.
If the goal of basketball, and hence the name, is to put the ball in the basket, master what is close. Perfect the layup, in all its variations, before you go further away. Sacrifice short-term excitement for long-term baskets.