Andre Drummond misses a lot of his free throws. He missed 65 percent of them during the regular season, he’s missed 62 percent on his career, and most importantly nearly 68 percent of them during his first playoff outing this spring. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] That outing ended with Drummond’s Detroit Pistons being swept from the playoff by the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. That result was hardly an upset on one form of paper, but to those familiar with another piece of ply it was a bit of a surprise to see the Pistons team that took three of four regular season games from Cleveland in 2015-16 fail to secure a single win. Part of that lack of execution was due to the fact that Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy had to sit Drummond for certain fourth quarter stages so as to avoid intentional fouls that would put his All-Star center at the free throw line. In exit interviews with the team and local press, Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower discussed the chance that Drummond might learn to shoot free throws underhand for 2016-17. Or, “granny style,” as the kids say. From Rod Beard at the Detroit News : “As far as shooting underhand or anything else, it’s fair to say my discussion with Andre yesterday and the discussions Jeff and I have had and staff — everything is on the table,” Van Gundy said Thursday during the season wrap-up at The Palace. “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.” […] “The one thing we do know is the traditional approach and nothing else, of simply trying to correct mechanics and go in the gym and shoot a lot of free throws has not worked,” Van Gundy said, “so we’ve got to (try something) else. We’ve got to be a little more creative in how we approach it. “That’s all I can say right now.” Famously – as in, he even made it onto ‘ A Different World ’ – ABA and NBA champion Rick Barry shot 90 percent from the line in the latter league while shooting the underhanded style: Infamously, legendary center Wilt Chamberlain went through myriad styles of free throw shooting, on his way to a 51 percent career mark, including attempts at jumping from the line to dunk it (in college, later outlawed), standing several feet behind the line, and Barry’s underhand style: There is some validity to the underhand argument. Even if Barry’s own sons (Jon, Brent and Drew; who made 85, 82 and 77 percent of their NBA free throws, respectively) eschewed the underhand style. Drummond stands at 6-11, and due to his reach when he releases the ball his fingertips are nearly at basketball ring-level. This doesn’t allow for much or any arc on his shot, a needed element when trying to put the ball through a ring that stands 10 feet off the ground, from 15 feet away. Though there have been scores of expert 6-11 free throw shooters, if you don’t have that skill established by your 20s, it’s probably not going to show up out of nowhere. Even Tim Duncan, TV’s “Mr. Fundamental,” has struggled with inconsistent foul shooting throughout his career. There have also been heaps of success stories. Karl Malone entered the league a bricklayer, but outside of a few notable lapses he finished his career as absolute money from the stripe. The Mailman stood at 6-9 (maybe), though, and without Drummond’s wingspan. To top that, rebounding, screening and tossing in short-range put-backs (the skills that made Andre an All-Star) are entirely different games than setting up from 15 feet away and throwing up a set shot. We’ve made the comparison many times, but this is truly “here comes the pitcher to bat” -territory. As always, it comes down to the embarrassment factor. Most poor-shooting big men would rather go out looking like Michael Jordan at the line in their approach, despite halving MJ’s career free throw percentage, than trying something new. That was the case in the 1990s with Shaquille O’Neal, and you can bet it’s certainly the case in this era when a free throw attempt Vine can go viral even before halftime hits. Shooting the ball underhand – letting loose of it from around your waist – allows for more arc and a better chance at good rotation. If Andre Drummond wants to keep with his current style, aiming for a line-driven bank shot would also help. All you have to do is hit that box on the backboard with a bullet, and it’ll bounce right in. Both of these styles, at least initially, would be regarded as a novelty. It would then lead to internet chatter and possibly embarrassment for Drummond. With that in place, what’s more embarrassing than missing over 60 percent of your free throws, on average? - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDOnhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
After riding off into the sunset in just about the most perfect way imaginable , we knew what Kobe Bryant planned to do: work out in the morning , head over to the Kobe Inc. offices , and get to work on branding, or storytelling, or telling stories about branding. Following a couple of nose-to-the-grindstone weeks, though, the former Los Angeles Lakers legend and future first-ballot Hall of Famer found some time for a bit of fun, making his first post-retirement media appearance in a visit to "Ellen" to discuss the emotions of that unforgettable night, among other things. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] (You can watch the full five-minute interview here .) Those "other things" included flexing his straight-man comedic chops in a hidden-camera prank that saw him describe to an unsuspecting esthetician, in somewhat excruciating detail, the extent of an imaginary sweating problem that he claimed plagued him over the course of his playing career, with host Ellen DeGeneres feeding him fake nicknames like "Sir Sweats-A-Lot" and "Sweat Middler" through an earpiece: "It starts on my left upper cheek — my buttocks. Starts dripping down to my knee and drips back up. It just keeps going up, up, up to my ear. Wraps around my neck, then from there's it's like a shower. I'm soaking wet. Just drenched." [...] "I'm so sad," Bryant says. "The guys in the locker room made fun of me all the time. They would sing a song: 'Sweaty Kobe, Okie Dokie.'" And here I thought Kobe wasn't going to be returning to spitting rhymes after he hung up his high-tops. Eventually, Kobe let the mark in on the goof, giving her a hug — but only after confirming, naturally, that he was not super sweaty. It's exceedingly unlikely that any basketball fan familiar with Bryant's maniacal competitive streak would be in any way surprised by the fact that Kobe commits to this bit 110 percent, from the singing to the humming to the emphasis on delivering every line Ellen feeds him without breaking, but it's kind of nice to see his single-minded approach to success manifest itself in another realm. Maybe — just maybe — the Mamba will find enough ways to pass all the free time he's got on his hands now. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
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