August 15, 2016, 10:45 am
Andre Drummond’s weakness is well-documented: he just can’t hit free throws. He’s the latest in a long line of dominant big men that struggle from the charity stripe.
While most just try to improve their stroke and put in hours upon hours of work in empty gyms, all the extra practice in the world doesn’t seem to help in game action. It’s lead to many throwing out the idea of converting to an underhand free throw; Rick Barry shot underhanded back in the day and was 89% from the line. It’s certainly an option but Drummond isn’t having any of it.
In an interview with Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant, Drummond “dismisses any suggestion he should try shooting [free throws] underhand.”
“I’m just really just continuing to work on back-to-the-basket stuff and working on getting better from the foul line. I’m going to stick with the formula I have now.”
That’s all well and good, but the current formula is clicking at 35.5%. If he does improve it’ll be a massive boon to the Pistons; Drummond posted per-game averages of 16.2 points, 14.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks. His poor free throw shooting led to lots of “Hack-A-Drummond” play from opponents and forced Stan Van Gundy to take him off the floor for stretches of time.
A lot of players think that the ‘Granny-style’ shot will earn them some healthy ridicule, but it really can’t be worse than shooting sub-40% from the free throw line. Weird looking shots at even 60% seems preferable to traditional looking failure. If Drummond can get to the point where he doesn’t have to be yanked off the floor, he’ll have the last laugh.
It’s really going to be a matter of when, not if, someone decides to chuck their normal shot in the trash and puts up with the taunting to improve their own game. It’s a wonder that none of the potentially dominant forces have turned to it already because whoever cashes in first stands to benefit in a big way.