Basketball is one of the world’s most popular sports.
When kids go to play the sport out in the park, they sometimes yell things like “Kobe!” while they’re shooting, or “Kyrie!” when they’re making a layup. Shooting free throws is a simple component of the sport of basketball that everyone can try to do exactly the same as professional players. For this shot, players only have to throw a nine-inch-wide round ball weighing approximately twenty ounces through an eighteen-inch diameter rim. For some reason, approximately three out of every four free-throw shots go in during basketball games. Why are there so many professional players that miss free-throws so much? Why are there professional basketball players that struggle to make free-throws, something little kids can do with ease?
Many believe that it is simply natural for taller players to be inconsistent when shooting free-throws. Players that come to mind regarding this is Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan, to name a few. Perhaps these players have hands too large to aim the basketball properly from the distance that the free-throw line is at. However, many statistical tests that have been made have shown that the hand sizes of many professional basketball players does not have any significant influence on a player’s free-throw success percentage at all.
Maybe there simply isn’t enough importance placed on professional basketball players to be able to make a shot as simple as a free-throw. It is such a simple facet of the game that fans usually take it for granted. Unfortunately, the free-throw has been pivotal in deciding outcomes of games and even championships. When Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs missed one of their two free throws during Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2013, the Miami Heat were able to come back and win the game. By failing to take these two points that were available to be taken, the Spurs lost this game and eventually failed in winning the NBA championship that year. Free throws are just as important to this game as any other facet. In fact, free throws are even more important than every other component of this sport due to its unknown significance.
NBA players need to become aware of just how important the free-throw is. The NBA has made a ridiculous change to the rules to minimize the importance of the free-throw, though there will never be a way to eliminate its importance. No matter what, unless one tries to completely remove the free-throw component of basketball from the game, this will be a facet of the game that will have a determining factor in the best players and the best teams, as well as the worst players and the worst teams.