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View Full Version : Free Throw Shooting - Why Are Some NBA Players So Bad At It?



RapsGuy23
10-16-2008, 04:24 PM
The central question of this thread is "Why are some NBA basketball players such poor free throw shooters???"

Is it because they're lazy and don't practice enough, or is free throw shooting an inherent talent or skill that some have and some simply do not???

Its hard for me to believe that any NBA player would be able to step up to the free throw line in a game and miss consecutive free throws but it happens all the time. The NBA is the premier league in the world. NBA Franchises equip their players with some of the best coaches, trainers, facilities etc that money can buy. NBA teams hire shooting coaches specifically to improve each shooter shot from the line, mid range, perimeter etc. So the ability for an NBA player to improve his free throw shooting through the resources made available to him are superior to any other basketball environment, period.

I suppose I should be asking this to the Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, Ben Wallace, and Reggie Evans's of the league...Thoughts?

bogdanrom
10-16-2008, 04:27 PM
I think it's a combination of laziness, not willing to improve, not enough practice and also not learning the right way to shoot free throws.

JOSETHEALLSTAR
10-16-2008, 04:37 PM
its the form in which they shoot their free throws

Theanswer76
10-16-2008, 04:48 PM
Cuz they be some ****** ya hear me

$ NyC $
10-16-2008, 04:48 PM
but wouldn't every1 find a form that suits them best?

lakers4sho
10-16-2008, 04:50 PM
I think it's more of a trend...players who can't really shoot FTs are generally big men (centers, PFs)

So I guess something about their height/size?? :confused:

rrude
10-16-2008, 04:55 PM
well, some guys just don't get how to put a soft touch on a shot. Some great players like Rodman, for example, always put it up a bit too hard.

But free throws also involve concentration and some guys that are bad at them you can just see that they are just tossing it up with their mind elsewhere.

Some guys have bad mechanics. All three of these are connected and that's why it's not enough to just teach a guy to do it. They have to 'get it' on a certain level that can't be taught.

But a guy like Shaq, with his weird one-handed shot, and it barely looks like he's got a grip on the ball---I think he only concentrates when there's something really at stake. The problem is, he does it sloppily all the rest of the time and can't always just flip a switch when it matters.

JMKnick33
10-16-2008, 05:29 PM
it's even more ridiculous when premier perimeter players suck at free throw shooting..

last year t-mac shot 68% from the line when he can easily make 150 3's in a given year.

another player that comes to mind is baron davis.. who has a career ft% of less than 70%. i remember one year he shot around 55%! a 7'6 center should not be shooting better free throws than a point guard, ever!

PhillySportFan
10-16-2008, 05:31 PM
Well my anwer would be is that those guys can't shoot anyways, so thats why besides Timmy some what but he is inconsistent unless he keeps using backboard. Those guys aren't good shooter to begin with so theres no reason to believe they'd be good FT shooters. Those guys aren't offensive players there mind is on blocking/rebounding, like I said besides Timmy who needs to be pretty close to the rim to make shots consistently, Shaq use to be a threat just cuz he was so big and he would back you in, otherwise there defensive players mainly. Seeing as how so many players are offensive minded it's not bad to have some defensive minded players.

ARMIN12NBA
10-16-2008, 05:34 PM
I think it's more of a trend...players who can't really shoot FTs are generally big men (centers, PFs)

So I guess something about their height/size?? :confused:

Well Lebron James is a horrible free-throw shooter and he is an SF.

KobeIs
10-16-2008, 05:36 PM
it's even more ridiculous when premier perimeter players suck at free throw shooting..

last year t-mac shot 68% from the line when he can easily make 150 3's in a given year.

another player that comes to mind is baron davis.. who has a career ft% of less than 70%. i remember one year he shot around 55%! a 7'6 center should not be shooting better free throws than a point guard, ever!

That's what kills me when I see those type of players.

But in a way, some big men just can't move as well as other players. Big men that come from out of the country seem to be more agile and flexible while the guys from America seem more stiff. Therefore their shooting is horrible. Then again, that's what I notice when I'm on the courts. When your body is stiff and really tight, you won't get the same shot as if you were more flexible. Just think about, when you all were kids, you'd shoot the ball with your backpack on and you'd be really restrained and stiff (if your backpack is tight that is)

But just cuz they suck at shooting ft's doesn't mean they suck at playing, just look at Shaq.

ttam68
10-16-2008, 06:27 PM
I think there are two main factors: Hand size and overall strength.

If any of you have every tried to play basketball right after lifting weights you'll see thats its incredibly difficult to shoot. I think for guys like Shaq, or even Lebron, thats the problem. They're trying to bang around inside and for that they need to bulk up. These guys are benching 500 lbs. on a regular basis, so its hard to maintain touch on a little ball.

As for hand size, try taking a jump shot with a basketball from one of the door hanging hoops. Its possible, but its just very difficult to touch on something so small. The balls used in basketball were designed for 6'0" guys, now we've got 7' giants coming to the league.

Obviously, though, there are exceptions. For guys like Tmac and Baron Davis I really don't think there's an excuse. These guys can drop threes but not free throws? I think they just lack the focus or effort.

NYMetros
10-16-2008, 06:30 PM
Good question. It's one that I think you would actually have to ask a player though.

We're not NBA players so we can't really say why this is the case for so many guys. My best guess would be laziness and oversized hands. Or maybe they're just bad shooters, period.

Gmen824
10-16-2008, 06:38 PM
derrick rose isnt a great ft shooter, either is j-rich he shot 69% last year or a year ago.

C_Mund
10-16-2008, 06:47 PM
I think some people nailed it on the head...it comes down to size and strength, which is the reason that bigger people generally have trouble. I mean, how about us regulars try to shoot a grapefruit into a 9-foot net, that's what it's like for shaq.
As for the smaller players, usually the ones I find to be poor free-throw shooters are those that a) jump really high on their shots and/or b) often take and hit lots of floaters and leaners.
Practicing these types of game shots can often leave you a bit messed up at the ft line when you're supposed to be completely still and not jump.

bidi_nash
10-16-2008, 06:57 PM
Lots of time its the big men with not enough touch

hdxstunts1
10-16-2008, 07:06 PM
Some guys just dont work at it. Its a skill easily possesed and anyone can be a 90%+ FT shooter if they work.

As for the size and strenght that makes absolutly no sense to me. Shaq is only 2 inches taller then Peja and Peja has equally as big hands and yet Shaq shoots 50% at best and Peja shoots 93%?

Yoa shoots FT at 82%! Duncan 73%! Gasol 79%! Ilgauskas 80%! You see its not that their tall and strong its work ethic. I'm 6'4" PF on my high schoo team and shoot 81% and yet the PG shoots 62% the Sg shoots 76% and the C shoots 72%! Its the way we work at it nothing else!!!!

talk.sick
10-16-2008, 07:33 PM
Its just hard for those tall players to shoot the ball because of the size of their hands. To them it feels like shooting on those hoops you find at dollar stores except the difference between the size of the rim and the ball aren't as wide as those kiddie hoops. Add to that how much lighter the ball is to those big guys. If they just use normal mechanics, they would still overshoot the ball since its so light. A wrist shot would be the right power but it would not have an arc. So its a really tough skill to learn. They always need to practice their shot or else they'd be shooting air balls, misses, or over the backboard because they wouldn't be able to memorize the soft touch that it takes to make that shot. Especially after they've lifted weights the ball feels even lighter to them.

Hawkeye15
10-16-2008, 08:10 PM
simple. Technique and confidence.

snickers
10-16-2008, 11:58 PM
name of the theard should be. free throw shooting - why is shaq so bad at it?

Kyle N.
10-16-2008, 11:59 PM
I think there's no excuse to suck THAT bad. I played basketball, and yeah, some days they just aren't dropping. Big hands may factor into it, but some player's forms are just plain stupid. If anything just throw it up softly.

UofA
10-17-2008, 12:07 AM
I think there is a matter of confidence, but also the players form plays a major part. Have any of you noticed the way Joakim Noah shots the ball and the spin he puts on it, if it hits the rim at all it almost always goes out because of the way he shots his FT

ee
10-17-2008, 12:11 AM
i'm an ok free throw shooter, around friends, pick up games now, I'll hit 8 out of 10 easy....but when I was in high school, in front of a crowd, I was mediocre.....same with when I play pool....I play really well alone, but when I'm playing against another person, I seem to lose focus......

JIDsanity
10-17-2008, 12:11 AM
Because they don't practice, and we all know that practice make perfect. :)

Beno7500
10-17-2008, 12:19 AM
I am awesome at free throws

MTar786
10-17-2008, 01:04 AM
and for some people its difficult when u have 20 thousand people watching u take a freethrow. people feel pressured, get nervous.. some cant take it. oh n its really hard to concentrate with a crowed making so much noise u cant even hear the ball bounce on the floor

LAKERS 24/7
10-17-2008, 01:04 AM
Some guys just dont work at it. Its a skill easily possesed and anyone can be a 90%+ FT shooter if they work.

As for the size and strenght that makes absolutly no sense to me. Shaq is only 2 inches taller then Peja and Peja has equally as big hands and yet Shaq shoots 50% at best and Peja shoots 93%?

Yoa shoots FT at 82%! Duncan 73%! Gasol 79%! Ilgauskas 80%! You see its not that their tall and strong its work ethic. I'm 6'4" PF on my high schoo team and shoot 81% and yet the PG shoots 62% the Sg shoots 76% and the C shoots 72%! Its the way we work at it nothing else!!!!

I don't think its that easy to shoot 90%. Shooting 80% should be doable for all NBA players. but its not all based on work. Otherwise Kobe would shoot 100% from the line, when in fact he averages around 85%.

MTar786
10-17-2008, 01:07 AM
for example. if u put me on a freethrow line in a gym il make 10 outta ten freethrows everytime.. id even make 7 outta 10 3's atleast.. but in a game with a crowed. when u hit the freethrow line. besides being tired from playing during the game u have to perform infront of the crowed. i'd make like 6 or 7 of ten instead. n id make like 3 out of evey ten 3pointers id shoot

Beno7500
10-17-2008, 02:32 AM
^ Same with me. I cant make all my shots in a game. i don't know why

Red_Sox_89
10-17-2008, 02:59 AM
Cuz they be some ****** ya hear me

This is worth a ban

RoyalG333
10-17-2008, 03:02 AM
they should bring back the ole granny shots. i bet some of those big men have a better chance at making a ft granny style than overhead.

RapsGuy23
10-17-2008, 09:36 AM
name of the theard should be. free throw shooting - why is shaq so bad at it?

Hahah...It was actually talking about Shaq that gave the idea for this thread. Imagine what his numbers would have been like if he was a descent free throw shooter.

bman2380
10-17-2008, 01:55 PM
It comes hard work and a lot of players are happy with the other parts of their game and dont put in the extra work needed. Not everyone works hard at their games in the offseason and even during the season.

Good shooter that works hard - Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Dirk, Kobe, Lebron and so on...

Hard work pays off is not a lie...

Chronz
10-17-2008, 03:12 PM
Good question. It's one that I think you would actually have to ask a player though.

We're not NBA players so we can't really say why this is the case for so many guys. My best guess would be laziness and oversized hands. Or maybe they're just bad shooters, period.

Its definitely not laziness, the hands may have more to do with it but MJ was a great shooter.

MTar786
10-17-2008, 04:52 PM
It comes hard work and a lot of players are happy with the other parts of their game and dont put in the extra work needed. Not everyone works hard at their games in the offseason and even during the season.

Good shooter that works hard - Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Dirk, Kobe, Lebron and so on...
Hard work pays off is not a lie...


ummm.. i wouldnt really put lebron on a good shooters list just yet :no:

Big Quett
10-17-2008, 05:31 PM
derrick rose isnt a great ft shooter, either is j-rich he shot 69% last year or a year ago.

Yeah i really dont think it has anything to do with size of hands. Or being a bigman. Look at bigmen like Bosh, Yao, Dirk, and Pau all shot over 80% It has everything to do with concentration and work. baron Davis shoots only 69% career and Tony parker shoots 71%

Can anyone tell me why J Rich lead the league in 3 pointers made and shot 41% but shot about 75% from the line

And being from Memphis i can agree D Rose isnt a good FT shooter especially for a guard he along with CDR shot only 71% and that where the best FT shooters on the team.


And D Wade whose whole game is based on the mid range shot only shot about 76% i think he should easily be at about 85%

Shieldsz
10-17-2008, 05:39 PM
For players like Shaq, i understand. With so many people watching , yeah but you dont undestand...

HOW BIG THEIR HANDS ARE. Imagine shooting free throws with a mini-ball. It isn't easy.

ItsTheLastAce
10-17-2008, 05:55 PM
I think it mostly has to do with the fact that most nba players rely on their athleticism in their game, and don't focus on the fundementals. I don't think they focus enough on the technique.

I also believe the crowd and being tired affects their free throws.

_Sn1P3r_
10-18-2008, 01:12 PM
It's focus and technique. Bending the knees, following through, and all the little things like flicking your wrist, your dominant foot in front by a bit, and so on.

PhxGiant
10-18-2008, 02:04 PM
If you have one of those hoops at your house that you can lower, go ahead and lower it so you have a sense of what its like for a 7 footer. Then shoot free throws, i found that it completely changes the proper form you need to make them with a high rate of success. Of course there are exceptions (Yao Ming,Dirk) but foreign bigs usually have that kind of touch.

There are so many factors, hand size, strength, Ben Wallace actually has a nice looking freethrow shot and yet he's even worse than Shaq. I guess this is one of life's great mysteries lol

LAKERS 24/7
10-18-2008, 04:03 PM
If you have one of those hoops at your house that you can lower, go ahead and lower it so you have a sense of what its like for a 7 footer. Then shoot free throws, i found that it completely changes the proper form you need to make them with a high rate of success. Of course there are exceptions (Yao Ming,Dirk) but foreign bigs usually have that kind of touch.

There are so many factors, hand size, strength, Ben Wallace actually has a nice looking freethrow shot and yet he's even worse than Shaq. I guess this is one of life's great mysteries lol

It definetly is wierd. People say big men can't make free throws because they have big hands, but Kwame has small hands and we all know what a great free throw shooter he is. Ironically, he has great form.

Jayg1712
10-18-2008, 04:08 PM
Id say oversized hands have a lot to do with it. And laziness of course, some players just suck in general.

Sox Appeal
10-18-2008, 04:18 PM
I'd say the main reason is lack of coordination. Some of the players (especially big men) aren't coordinated enough to shoot FT's for a high percentage.

laker1000
10-18-2008, 04:27 PM
probably laziness, rick bary proposed shaq to teach him underhand and he refused i think

PhxGiant
10-18-2008, 04:33 PM
It definetly is wierd. People say big men can't make free throws because they have big hands, but Kwame has small hands and we all know what a great free throw shooter he is. Ironically, he has great form.


Yeah man it is no doubt, maybe it has something to do with the way they were coached when they were young. I know that after thousands and thousands of shots your muscle memory takes place, so maybe that explains how players can hit countless long range shots but when they have to slow down and focus on a free throw its different.

My coach always made us do numerous drills to work on form so our muscle memory would take over allowing us to eventually shoot quicker with accuracy.

b_rad23
10-18-2008, 04:54 PM
I think there are two main factors: Hand size and overall strength.

If any of you have every tried to play basketball right after lifting weights you'll see thats its incredibly difficult to shoot. I think for guys like Shaq, or even Lebron, thats the problem. They're trying to bang around inside and for that they need to bulk up. These guys are benching 500 lbs. on a regular basis, so its hard to maintain touch on a little ball.

As for hand size, try taking a jump shot with a basketball from one of the door hanging hoops. Its possible, but its just very difficult to touch on something so small. The balls used in basketball were designed for 6'0" guys, now we've got 7' giants coming to the league.

Obviously, though, there are exceptions. For guys like Tmac and Baron Davis I really don't think there's an excuse. These guys can drop threes but not free throws? I think they just lack the focus or effort.


I agree completely

Ph1lly Diehard
10-18-2008, 04:58 PM
Every player no matter what size should be able to shoot above atleast 65%..

Anything below that is embarassing

Big Quett
10-19-2008, 06:07 AM
probably laziness, rick bary proposed shaq to teach him underhand and he refused i think

Yeah i remember that he basically slapped him in the face saying that he was too cool to do that nowadays.

pman
10-19-2008, 11:52 AM
it's even more ridiculous when premier perimeter players suck at free throw shooting..

last year t-mac shot 68% from the line when he can easily make 150 3's in a given year.

another player that comes to mind is baron davis.. who has a career ft% of less than 70%. i remember one year he shot around 55%! a 7'6 center should not be shooting better free throws than a point guard, ever!
antoine walker... perfect example