Russell Westbrook may not want to address it, but it's clear that he's having problems at the free-throw line this season and it should be a concern for his team.
The reigning MVP is currently shooting a career-low 59.2 percent from the charity stripe after the first 12 games and it may be one reason for the Oklahoma City Thunder's struggles so far.
To put Westbrook's free-throw woes into perspective, he's shooting a less percentage than Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan, who are connecting on 64.2 percent and 61.1 percent of their foul shots respectively.
The big men are notorious Hack-a-Shaq targets and are often forced to go to the line due to their inability to knock them down.
This must be a huge concern for the Thunder, especially after their superstar point guard enjoyed much success at the line last season.
The six-time All-Star is typically an excellent foul shooter and hit over 80 percent in eight out of the last nine seasons, and is also coming off the most prolific campaign of his career where he scored career highs in free-throw percentage (84.5), free-throw attempts (10.4), and in free-throw makes (8.8).
It's hard to pinpoint why he's suffered a sudden drop-off but it's very strange for a player of his calibre.
Per the Norman Transcript, one explanation could be because of the NBA's new delay-of-game rules, which don't allow players to walk beyond the three-point line between free-throw attempts. This clashes with his lifelong free-throw routine, walking out near half court after an initial free-throw attempt before returning for shot number two.
The All-NBA guard was recently asked by a reporter about his free-throw routine and his struggles, but he was unwilling to discuss it in detail.
“That [expletive] is over,” he said when asked if he's working on a new routine. “Original routine.”
In a recent loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Westbrook was fouled on a three-point attempt but somehow missed all three free-throws that would've brought OKC to within one point with 20 seconds remaining.
But his misses proved crucial as the Blazers managed to close out the game.
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, however, is not worried about the 28-year-old's struggles and expects him to figure it out.
“Any time you’ve got a player like Russell, anybody that’s traditionally been a really good free-throw shooter, they have to work through it themselves,” he said.
“But I think because he’s been a good free-throw shooter, generally those guys know why they’re not making it, whether it’s not bending their knees enough, they’re not getting up on their toes. And I think he’ll work through that and figure that out.”