Wednesday night in a win over the Pacers, Andre Drummond was 0-of-7 from the free throw line.
In years past that would have been a normal night — he shot just 38.6 percent from the stripe the season before and that was an improvement over the season before. But coming into Wednesday night Drummond was shooting 75 percent from the free throw line this season, after an impressive preseason putting up similar numbers.
What did Drummond do this past summer to change his form? He talked about it with Nick Friedell of ESPN about the process.
The journey started when the 24 year-old reconnected with trainer Idan Ravin, a man who helped him prepare for the 2012 NBA draft…
“We have to scrap all the stuff that you’ve been told,” Ravin told Drummond. “All the stuff that you’ve been doing. And that’s a lot because it’s like asking someone to change their handwriting, their signature. Even if they have a messy signature, it’s just something that they’ve done for a very, very long time…
“The focus wasn’t [let’s] make you a better free throw shooter,” Ravin said. “The focus was let’s make you a better player. The free throw shooting was just a byproduct of everything else. We didn’t spend 400 hours working on free throws. We spent thousands of hours on working on becoming a better player. We weren’t doing Five Star basketball 1985 form shooting.”
It worked. With that not only could Drummond be on the court at the end of games, he was more aggressive seeking out contact on drives and powering through, not fearing trips to the free throw line. It had him with the highest true shooting percentage and playing the best basketball of his NBA career.
Was Wednesday night a blip, just an off night? Time will tell, but Drummond seems to have found his form. He doesn’t need to shoot 75 percent from the line, if he’s around 60 than fouling him to stop a shot — or in a hack-a-Dre plan — is no longer a good strategy. And that’s part of the reason the Pistons are 8-3.