Believe it or not, DeAndre Jordan wasn't the NBA's worst free-throw shooter last season. That inauspicious crown belongs to Detroit's Andre Drummond, who connected on just 38.9% of his attempts from the stripe a season ago. D.J. wasn't a whole lot better, though, as he made 39.7% of his foul shots, good for second-worst in the Association among qualified shooters. Armed with a brand new contract, though, it seems safe to assume that Jordan is ready to take his game to the next level in what will be his eighth pro season.
However, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, one thing DeAndre hasn't altered this summer is his free-throw form:
DeAndre Jordan on whether he did anything new with his free throws: "Nothing different. Same."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) September 26, 2015
Honestly, D.J.'s motion doesn't really look that bad. He probably doesn't bend his knees enough, but compared to teammate Chuck Hayes, his form is downright Mark Price-esque. Regardless, it hasn't produced results. He's a 41.7% shooter from the line for his career, with his best season (52.5%) coming during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign.
The vast majority of Jordan's shot attempts from the field obviously come from within the paint (98.7% within 10 feet of the hoop last season, per NBA.com), which makes the decision for teams to foul him intentionally a fairly easy one. He made an astounding 71.3% of his shots from the floor last season, which was the top mark in the league by a wide margin. If you just hack him rather than allowing him to dunk all over you, the odds of that possession being a successful one for the Clips dwindles a bit.
Many believe free-throw shooting is more mental than physical. We always hear about certain big men (Dwight Howard, for one) that reportedly shoot excellently in practice, only to have it fail them in actual games. Jordan agrees:
Jordan says his lack of free throw shooting success is a mental issue, not mechanical. He added that he has a hang-up about shooting free throws in front of large crowds—something the Clippers have plenty of over the past few seasons. "When I [shoot free throws] in practice, I make them," said Jordan.
We've seen Blake Griffin improve his free-throw percentage considerably from one season to the next, so recent evidence suggests it isn't an impossible feat. Will D.J.'s results improve despite sticking with the same motion? Or is he just sandbagging in lieu of admitting he's undergone a free-throw overhaul?