Fultz’s Serious Free Throw Problem

A large takeaway from the first game includes Markelle Fultz’s new free throw shot. It appears that during the offseason, Fultz decided to change the form of his free throw shot because he hit only 65 percent of his free throws in colleges. His new shot, in the video below, is awkward and unnatural. Fultz begins by holding the ball near his waist, raises it to his shoulder, then  awkwardly waits several seconds before lobbing the ball to the net. The shot has no fluidity or consistency because it has so many different dimensions. The best free throw shooters keep their shot simple and make it quick. Hopefully, Fultz is able to rework the shot; otherwise, there will be a new trend called Hack-a-Fultz.

I know that Fultz is working through a shoulder injury, but there are numerous videos that suggest Fultz has been working on the shoot throughout the offseason. The video below shows Fultz practicing free throws during the game. In the video, the shot is even lower than that of the video above; it looks like Fultz is still tweaking his shot. Specifically, the video below compares his current free throw with that of college. The major difference is that, in college, he had a significantly higher and faster release, creating a fluid motion. Currently, it seems that Fultz is simply trying different things to alter his shot.

What is surprising is that despite having a terrific midrange and three point jump shot, Fultz struggles with a free throw. Many players come into the NBA with some hole in their game; for Fultz, it is evident that is his free throw shooting. Players overcome such challenges by working with the coaching staff to find something that works for them. I believe that Fultz will be ultimately be a 70 percent free throw shooter. Ideally, players struggling in that area aim for 75 percent, so it would extraordinary if he is able to achieve such feat.

Although I have been critical of Fultz’s free throw shot, I am fond of his midrange and three point pull up shot; it is what made him the first overall pick of the past draft. Below I included a clip of a video, showing his ability to pull up for a three point shot. Sometimes, I wonder how players can hit such tough shots but not hit the easy ones.

 

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