Statistically, Andre Drummond is the worst free-throw shooter in NBA history. It isn't the nicest tag to have, especially since the big man had a breakout year last season and established himself as one of the most dominant players in the league.
His numbers from the charity stripe cannot be ignored, however, and have hurt the Detroit Pistons, particularly in their first-round playoff series sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers who hacked the 22-year-old to gain an advantage in all four games.
In the series, Drummond shot 32 percent (11-of-34) and on the season, he shot 35.5 percent and went to the free-throw line a career-high 7.2 times per game.
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With his influential presence on the court for the Pistons on both ends of the floor, it is a simple strategy for teams to foul Drummond to force his coach Stan Van Gundy to take him out of the game and make do without his best rim protector and low-post scorer.
Van Gundy, however, may have seen enough and is ready to explore a possibility to improve his All-Star center's percentage from the foul line; shooting underhand.
"As far as shooting underhand or anything else, it's fair to say my discussion with Andre yesterday and the discussions [general manager] Jeff [Bower] and I have had and staff -- everything is on the table," Van Gundy said Thursday, per The Detroit News.
“It won’t be a unilateral decision; we’ll do some research on some things and come up with what we think is a good approach, talk to Andre and see what he thinks and develop an approach going forward.
“We all know it’s an important thing — Andre more than any of us – he’s pretty open to anything. There’s a lot of ways to attack this problem and we’ll all have a hand in it.”
Despite his career-low shooting percentage from the line, Drummond averaged a career-high 16.2 points, 14.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a night, but the one glaring hole in his game is obviously becoming a concern.
If Drummond decides to adopt the underhanded technique, he can certainly look to NBA legend and Hall of Famer Rick Barry for some inspiration.
Barry - who played in both the ABA and NBA during a 15-year career - was famous for his unorthodox free-throw style, but at the time of his retirement in 1980, his percentage from the charity stripe (.900) ranked first in NBA history and still ranks among the top 10 today.
It became an effective tool for Barry and could well prove to be the case for Drummond too. An improvement in his foul shots will definitely see a reduction in the "Hack-a-Drummond" tactics by opposing teams.
“The one good thing about this season was it was the first time people used that strategy against him extensively,” Van Gundy said. “He’s very motivated and very open-minded in terms of approaches. It’s something he wants to get solved; he doesn’t like being on the bench for that reason.”
It looks like it's going to be an interesting offseason for Drummond, who, with a little work, may improve his fortunes from the free-throw line next season, but one thing's for sure, he can't get any worse.