A Free Throw Expert’s Advice to Giannis: Just Shoot


Philip Flory, a college basketball player from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., is a big fan of the Milwaukee Bucks. While Flory sees the Bucks cower whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo is cowering, he supports them in the NBA finals against the Phoenix Suns. do everything forward and one of his favorite players is trying to do one of the few things that make him look vulnerable: free throws.

“It really bothers me,” Flory said.

All things considered, Flory knows this is a common complaint. Antetokounmpo, a two-time winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award, stands out in the playoffs. On Wednesday, the Bucks showed off their skills as they leveled their two-game best-of-seven finals. He maintained his team’s 109-103 victory with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists. mind-blowing endgame block In Suns’ Deandre Ayton.

But as the series returns to Phoenix for Game 5 on Saturday, Antetokounmpo returns to the scene of the crime – the petty offense he committed against free throws at the start of the series.

In the first two games, both losses combined for Milwaukee to shoot 18/30 from the line as Phoenix fans scolded him. counting the seconds passing – “Seven! Eight! Nine!” – before finally unleashing every attempt. Free throws have been a permanent challenge for Antetokounmpo, who was only able to shoot 56.8 percent at the end of this season.

“I feel like he should step up a bit,” Flory said. “Drive a cannon or just catch and shoot. Instead, dribbling, dribbling, dribbling, and then the shot itself is slow. It doesn’t look like a normal shot at all.”

A 6-foot forward, Flory is uniquely equipped to judge free throws: As a college player, he never missed a single one. last season it He did all 41 attempts. A Division III team at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point playing a shortened nine-game schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Flory understands that conditions are a little different for Antetokounmpo, the atmosphere is more intense.

“There are people screaming, waving their hands — there are a lot of distractions,” Flory said. “But he spends a lot of time and has an incredible work ethic. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a more consistent free throw shooter.”

Antetokounmpo isn’t the only NBA star working the line, of course. Shaquille O’Neal was a notorious free throw shooter. And just weeks ago, Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons managed to turn postseason foul shots into carnival rides, sinking just 34.2 percent of them before the 76ers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals. (Simmons no longer trade speculation.)

The strange thing is that Antetokounmpo is a 71.7 percent career free throw shooter, which is enough for him not to be a liability. But his percentage typically fell into the playoffs. Last week, she admitted she was aware of the loud banter from the Phoenix crowd and said she should “hug it and have fun with it”.

Antetokounmpo had more fun at home in Milwaukee, where the crowd serenaded him with “MVP” chants and fired 13 of 17 free throws in Game 3.

“That’s one of the reasons they won,” Don Kelbick said. basketball skills trainer and former college coach based in Melbourne, Fla.

Kelbick was careful not to overanalyze Antetokounmpo’s problems, as he had no direct knowledge of the Bucks star’s thought process. But when good players have such clear problems, Kelbick said the problem is “mental, not technical.” Antetokounmpo took 8 shots from the line in Game 4, but the Bucks still won.

“You have to be sure enough that you know how to do it — and you just have to let it go,” Kelbick said. “I feel like he’s trying to put the ball in the basket, but that never works.”

Flory said the key to success is repetition. He trains early to be able to do dozens of form-focused shots about three to five feet from the hoop. “Nice and close,” he said. He is aware of how the ball feels on his toes and pays attention to his pursuit, making sure that the ball does not slide to the left or right. He tries to dodge every hit.

Finally, he returns to the free throw line for about 50 tries. After training, he takes 50 to 100 more.

The routine is the same every time: one deep breath, two dribbles, then a shot. He said the entire sequence took about three seconds. He doesn’t want to be on the line forever.

“If you spend too much time in there, you think too much,” he said.

In fact, Flory avoids queuing up before he needs it during matches. Instead, he said, he detoured towards the 3-pointer to “socialize” with his teammates and discussed with them about defensive duties or his next position – anything to keep his mind off the free throw.

“When the referee signals me like ‘Let’s go,’ I go to the line,” he said.

Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, has been in line for so long that he has to pay rent. He is rehearsing his form even before he receives the ball from the referee. Flory said it would be wise to remove the clutter.

Flory’s process has been quite effective. her excellent recording from the strip It includes his freshman season as a preferred walk (6/6) at Seton Hall and a sophomore marred by a scholarship injury at Albany (2/2).

During his college career, hampered by a series of chronic injuries, Flory had three surgeries on his left foot and one on his right. He eventually signed up for the Wisconsin-Stevens Point in good health and played well last season, averaging about 21 points and 6 rebounds per game. Towards the end of the season, opponents noticed his free throw streak.

“I’m starting to get jealous,” she said.

She said she blocked out the noise by leaning into her routine and keeping the process simple. Isn’t it easy? Not for everyone, even for the best.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *