If you’ve been within an earshot of any chatter regarding the Detroit Pistons for the last few years, surely you’ve heard some strong criticism directed at Andre Drummond for his historic ineptitude from the free throw line.
Coming into the current season, Drummond’s career conversion percentage from the charity stripe was – well, not good. How not good are we talking, you ask? 38.1%. It was actually a fraction worse than that number indicates, but for the sake of ease, I rounded up.
Although we’re still early on in the current season, Drummond has stormed out of the gates from the free throw line. So much so that he had a career night from the line tonight.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) November 4, 2017
With the effort tonight, he improved on his past career high of 13 free throws made in a game. The difference? Tonight he only shot 16 total free throws. How many attempts did he take in the game where he set his former career high? 36. Yep, that’s right. He was 13-36 from the free throw line that night. That’s a 36.1% clip.
Again, the season is still quite young. But Drummond’s improvement can’t be ignored. Including tonight, he is shooting 77.8% from the line. Considering that he was literally the worst free throw shooter in the entire league last season with an unimpressive 38.6% conversion rate, the early success is quite welcomed by the Pistons.
The folks at NBA Math on Twitter have noticed an extremely rare trend in Drummond’s improvement, as well.
30 players have qualified for FT% leaderboard and made > 50% of their FTA. Andre Drummond is on pace to have BY FAR the best follow-up FT%. pic.twitter.com/p8vP9nrmp6
— NBA Math (@NBA_Math) November 4, 2017
If Drummond can finish the season shooting higher than 68.2% on his free throws, he would then hold the record (if you want to call it that) for the best improvement from one season to the next on free throw conversion. Perhaps it’s too early to start thinking about that, but for now, the Pistons are most definitely enjoying the turn around.
After the win tonight, the Pistons currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 6-3.