During the 2008-09 season, Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins notched impressive averages of 11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in only 30 minutes a game for his team, while hitting 55 percent of his free throws. Since that year, however, Biedrins has shot a miserable 22 percent from the stripe in three seasons-plus, missing a remarkable 52 out of 67 free throws attempted. As expertly detailed by Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard earlier this fall, his confidence and overall game has suffered significantly as a result. The Warriors can't play him, fearful of intentional fouls, and Biedrins just about runs from the ball any time he's on the court.
Sadly, the frustrations continued at Staples Center on Friday night. With starting center Andrew Bogut injured and rookie big man Festus Ezeli battling foul trouble while attempting to contain the Lakers' Dwight Howard, Biedrins got an early look in the first quarter. And, as you'd expect, an early whistle on an intentional foul. When his first attempt from the line went long, Andris attempted to take something off the second shot, and this was the result:
This is beyond the point of poking fun. Biedrins is still just 26 years old despite playing in his eighth NBA season. He should be readying to hit his athletic prime, cashing in (on court, at least, as Biedrins will make $18 million over the next two seasons) with his sturdy frame and still impressive hops. Instead, he's fallen off the face of the map, which is an absolute shame for someone whose career arc pegged him as a top-five center after his first few NBA seasons.
It doesn't figure to get any better, unless Biedrins completely re-works his shooting stroke. Considering the fact that he's just about unplayable right now, perhaps it would be in the team's best interests to keep Andris off the court for a spell, asking him to give up on the style of shooting that has done him no favors since 2009. Even with Bogut sidelined for what could or should be a while, anything has to be better than this.
It's his last chance at being anything more than something to gawk at. Which is an absolute shame, considering his gifts, and potential.
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