Eric Moreland talks free throws, confidence and more

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 18: Eric Moreland
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 18: Eric Moreland /

Eric Moreland was on hand at a community event in partnership between the Detroit Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance on Friday. We caught up with him there.

Eric Moreland had a great Orlando Summer League for the Detroit Pistons. He came into summer league like many do, hoping for a shot at a end-of-bench spot or a two-way contract. Moreland impressed and won himself a spot on the roster, or at least a fighting chance at one.

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We spoke at a library renovation being held at J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy in Detroit between the Pistons and Farm Bureau Insurance last week.

Thanks to his outstanding performance, the Pistons offered him a three-year deal worth about $5.5 million. Much of it is unguaranteed, in fact only $500k of it is guaranteed until September 5th, then $750k guaranteed until the season starts, then $1 million guaranteed until January 10th, when the rest of his first year salary becomes guaranteed.

His second season is similar, and his third year is completely unguaranteed. That just means the 25-year-old center will have to keep working for everything he gets on the floor. “I’m not thinking about dates or how it’s structured, I’m just trying to go out and do what I do best.” He added, “Nothing’s going to change.”

He’s familiar with some of his Piston teammates, at least in passing.

"“Stanley’s out in LA a lot, he’s in the gym all the time so I run into him a lot and Reggie Jackson is in the gym out there as well. I don’t know them personally too much but we cross paths being in the gym, it’s a small basketball world. At the Drew League and stuff like that.”"

We also spoke about his free throws. He shot a mediocre but acceptable 53.1 percent from the line at Oregon State, where he went to school, but he cratered from the free throw line in his three years in the G-League. In 2014-15, he shot 37.5 percent, in 2015-16 he shot 28.6 percent, and in 2016-17 he shot 37.7 percent.

"I had a real bad mental state about free throws. I air balled once last year and I couldn’t get over the hump. It lasted all season, it went way longer than it should have.In college I air balled but I still shot 57 percent. As far as a mental block in basketball I don’t think I’ve ever had a bigger problem than that. I think I’m good now though."

He had a small sample size from the line in summer league, hitting 10 of his 13 free throw attempts for a 76.1 percent success rate. That might not seem like much, but for context, Andre Drummond didn’t hit 10 out of any 13 free throws last season.

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It hasn’t been an easy road for Moreland thus far, and it may not get any easier, but he has the chance to fight for his spot on the floor now, and you can bet he’s going to make the most of it.