Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No need for smooth Blake to struggle at the stripe
Media folk are poking fun at Blake Griffin for firing back-to-back free-throw airballs Wednesday night. They’re also expressing concern that his free-throw woes, along with those of D’Andre Jordan and Reggie Evans, could cost the Clippers dearly in the playoffs.

If I ran the Clippers the first thing I would do is have one of the video assistants make a DVD of all of Blake’s free-throw attempts in March 2011. As a rookie he shot a very respectable .695 from the line after the 2011 all-star break, and .725 (79 for 109) in March. That’s impressive improvement for a young power forward who struggled at the stripe in college (.589 and .590 in his two seasons) and shot just .617 prior to the 2011 all-star break.

I don’t have any of those March 2011 attempts on hand, so I don’t know what the Clippers would discover. But there’s a chance that one or more aspects of that stroke will differ from his current stroke — or should I say his current abrupt snap.

I actually see two different Blakes today. The guy shooting jumpers, in both warmups and games, has a natural-looking delivery. You watch it and say, “That big bruiser is a mighty smooth athlete with a pretty nice stroke, as bruisers go.” But then you watch his routine and delivery at the line and he looks like a poorly programmed robot with a highly technical and technically flawed stroke — a robot whose stroke is short-circuited by some bizarre need to achieve a ridiculous, unnatural, put-your-hand-in-the-cookie-jar-while-holding-it-high follow-through pose.

My guess is that he’s fallen under the spell of some shooting guru with a bogus “scientific” approach built around an obsession with an exaggerated gooseneck finish.

If Blake or the Clippers want help in smoothing out his free-throw delivery so that he looks and feels like himself and gets back on the road to a rising percentage, I’m available. There’s no reason he can’t shoot 70 percent down the home stretch and in the playoffs, and beginning next season settle in to a long career shooting around 80 percent.