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#pounditTuesday, February 20, 2024

Stan Van Gundy: Andre Drummond’s free throw improvements are ‘for real’

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond has been notorious for being one of the league’s worst free throw shooters, having shot over 40 percent from the stripe just once in his five previous NBA seasons. Now, though, he thinks he’s found a breakthrough, and so does his coach.

Drummond is 6-for-6 from the line in three games so far, and coach Stan Van Gundy readily admitted that it’s a small sample size, but he believes it’s no fluke.

“Look, the sample is small, but you can watch him shoot the free throws and it’s for real,” Van Gundy said Saturday, via James Herbert of CBS Sports. “I’ve seen guys, right, they’ve been bad free-throw shooters and they go 6 for 10 but two of them bank in and the misses were really bad. Even the shots he’s missed, so far in the preseason and stuff, everything is soft, everything is on the rim. There hasn’t been anything close to a bad miss yet. Like, it’s for real. He’s going to shoot free throws well. I’m actually hoping somebody will start grabbing him now.”

Drummond shot 16-of-20 from the line during preseason as well, and said he has overhauled his form and habits to make things more fluid and repeatable — while also focusing on removing the mental block that plagued him when he stepped up to the line.

“For me, it’s like running now,” Drummond said. “It’s just second nature. I put the work in, I put the time in over the years. I’ve done what I was supposed to do this summer to keep myself comfortable to where I don’t think about it mentally anymore.”

If Drummond can even be a competent free throw shooter, it changes a whole lot with regard to what the Pistons can do, since the book on him has always been to just send him to the line once he gets the ball down low. He’s tried many things to fix his issue — even considering taking them underhand — but it seems that he may have finally hit on something.

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