For generations countless NBA big men have struggled from the free throw line. In 2016, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond are so awful at free throw shooting the league has had to change the rules to accommodate them.
Many preach that players need to spend more time practicing their free throws, but it appears that certain players simply have a case of the yips when they step to the line during games. ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh breaks it down in more detail:
One alternative, that has always been readily available, but hardly used is shooting underhand. The reasons are many, but they all basically center around pride, no one wants to be the one to try it and put up with the jokes that will come with attempting the unorthodox shot. Absolutely a childish reason, but it makes sense given the ‘macho nature’ of alpha-types in professional sports. Professional basketball players would rather miss shots from the charity strip than be seen shooting underhanded.
Enter Rockets second round pick Chinanu Onuaku, who played seven minutes of Houston’s 12-point win over the Pelicans this morning in Beijing and picked up his only two points from the free throw line using the underhanded method, much to the delight of the crowd and somewhere Rick Barry.
Onuaku changed over from the traditional approach to free throws during his second year at Louisville and his percentage jumped from 47% to 55%. Hopefully he keeps this moving and inspires others to at least try to another approach.
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