It is summer, which means that the Los Angeles Clippers are getting some rest and preparing for next season. Chris Paul is chasing a gold medal and the front office is chasing free agents, but the rest of the squad is probably in a variety of locations. Players are mostly likely working out, lifting weights and trying to stay in shape to a certain extent. Whatever they are doing, this team should be working on one skill. They should be working on free throws.
The importance of hitting your throws
Hitting free throws during the game is not all that exciting, but it can be the difference between winning and losing. When the game is on the line and a player has to hit two shots to win the game or tie it up, you better believe that opportunities at the charity stripe are important. Unfortunately, this is something that certain players in the NBA seem to take for granted.
As a team, the Clippers were the second-worst free throw shooting team last season, as they shot 68% for the year. That is very poor, considering the Oklahoma City Thunder hit 80% of their free throws. Blake Griffin was a prime culprit at 52% and DeAndre Jordan was barely better at 53% for the season. What does this mean? It means you have to take Griffin's talent and put it on the bench in close games. If Griffin can hit free throws, he becomes an almost unstoppable force in the fourth quarter.
A level of dedication
Fans are quick to simplify the professional game, but in this case I think it is appropriate to critique the pros. If I am a professional basketball player, and I have access to the best shooting coaches that money can buy, I just feel like I could shoot at least 70% from the line. Shooting free throws is about technique, but it is also about discipline and dedication. People who are not great athletes can learn how to shoot effective free throws. Therefore, this tells me that the Clips are not necessarily willing to put in the time. If they want to win a title, they need to hit the free ones. As Blake Griffin is rehabbing from surgery, he should be spending time at the line with a shooting coach.
Practice your throws, Clips. It just might lead to a championship.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he waits patiently for the Sonics to return to the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, he roots for the Clippers to become a winning franchise, and perhaps even the most popular team in their own city. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
More from this contributor:My First Trip to Yankee Stadium
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Blake Griffin