Andre Drummond has had a breakout season for the Detroit Pistons, and looks well on his way to becoming the most dominant force in the league. However, if the 22-year-old is ever going to reach superstar status, he will need to improve his free throw shooting.
Facing the Houston Rockets Wednesday night, Drummond missed an NBA record 23 free throws. Finishing the game 13-for-36 from the charity stripe, Drummond’s inability to knock down these freebies almost cost his team the game.
The Pistons held a comfortable 9-point lead at halftime, but it would quickly disappear. To start the third quarter, Drummond was fouled five times in a total of nine seconds to immediately put the Pistons in the bonus. In total, Houston fouled Detroit’s center an astounding 12 times in the third quarter, and Drummond managed to go just 5-for-16 from the line in that span. Finally, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy had seen enough, and decided to take his star player out of the game.
With Drummond on the bench, Detroit was able to actually play some offense, and rebuilt their lead to six points before heading to the fourth quarter. The “Hack-A-Drummond” strategy was re-implemented when he returned in the final period, but proved ineffective.
Drummond went an impressive 6-for-12 from the line in the final period, as the Pistons went on to win 123-114 for their ninth road victory of the season.
It’s hard to criticize Drummond when his team still gets the win, but when your free throw shooting makes Dwight Howard look like Stephen Curry at the line, it’s time to focus on improving that part of your game.