Adding a shooting touch could help Andre Drummond’s free throw shooting

AUBURN HILLS, MI - NOVEMBER 21: Andre Drummond
AUBURN HILLS, MI - NOVEMBER 21: Andre Drummond /

Everyone knows that Andre Drummond is painful to watch at the free throw line, so maybe expanding his game might be the best route for the Detroit Pistons.

Andre Drummond might be one of the best centers in the NBA right now, but he can’t be the best if he doesn’t improve his free throw shooting. Last season he marginally improved his free throw shooting by 3.1 percent. In the Detroit Pistons’ 2015-16 season, he shot a career high 7.2 free throws per game but shot a career low at the line at 35.5 percent.

It is hard to fix something that hasn’t shown much improvement over the years. In fact, Drummond’s biggest improvement regarding free throws is when he first came to the NBA. In his only year at the University of Connecticut, he shot 29.5 percent from the free throw line averaging 2.6 attempts per game.

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In his rookie season with the Pistons, he shot 37.1 percent from the line while averaging about the same attempts as he did in college. So what exactly is the problem and is it fixable?

From a statistical standpoint, Drummond shoots a worse percentage at the line when he shoots more free throws in a game. As Piston fans, we know Drummond as always struggled at the line and in some cases have cost the Pistons some games. This added pressure could have gotten into Drummond’s head and may have caused him to shoot those long-range hook shots, so he didn’t have to get to the line as much.

A lot of people have doubt that Drummond’s free throw shooting will get any better, but it’s not like Drummond hasn’t tried to fix the problem. Believe me; he’s aware of the problem. Last off-season Drummond used virtual reality to help him improve his free throw shooting after coming off a career low in free throw percentage at 35.5 percent. It was evident that Drummond was more frustrated in the 2015-16 season as he got pulled multiple times in the fourth quarter because he was hacked.

Heres what Drummond said about using virtual reality before the start of last season.

"“I’ve found something that keeps me calm. Even if I do miss a shot, I found something to keep me calm and not get myself rattled. Once I missed one, I’d tense up and I’d miss the next one, too. So I found a peace within myself. Even if I do miss a shot, I’m going to be comfortable to get back up there and shoot the same shot again. Make or miss, I’m not going to be frustrated but move on to the next play.”"

This past season Drummond just wasn’t himself. He had high expectations after coming off a career year in 2015-16 and got rewarded for it. The only missing piece to his game is shooting the basketball, and that’s exactly what he’s doing in the Drew League this off-season.

Drummond is dominating the Drew League, and it’s not just his big man presence that’s threatening the opponent, it was his unusual ability to shoot the basketball and not just from mid-range. So far Drummond has had big games of 36 and 40 points.

I’m not necessarily saying if Drummond shoots mid-range and three-point jumpers that it will help him at the free throw line. I’m saying it might help to take a step back this offseason to improve his free throw shooting and focus on building his game whether it be shooting mid-range or three-point jumpers because it most likely will build his confidence at the free throw line.

Free throws are obviously different from shooting mid-range shots, but having confidence elsewhere will over lap your frustration like in Drummond’s case with his free throw shooting. Although a lot of great shooters like Stephen Curry built their confidence off free throw shooting Drummond isn’t great at shooting them so in his case he needs to build confidence doing something else besides improving his free throw ability.

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According to Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, Drummond has already lost 20 pounds this off-season after saying Drummond’s  biggest concern last season was he didn’t have a “high motor” like Stanley Johnson for instance. As far as I know, this might help his free throw shooting. The last time Drummond shed weight was last off-season where he also lost 20 pounds, maybe dropping another will help.

Drummond is an essential part of this team whether you like it or not, so Detroit Pistons fans have faith in this guy. Hopefully, Drummond focuses’ on what he needs to build on so he can build his confidence so he can reciprocate the all-star season he had in 2015-16.