The Spurs and Cavs struggled again from the free throw line, at least during the first half when I was watching. There are a couple small tweaks a couple players could make to improve their percentages.
I wrote about Tim Duncan previously. When he sets at the free throw line, his hands are on the side of the ball. So, a part of his actual shooting mechanics is twisting his hands into shooting position. Obviously, this is inefficient and ineffective.
Anderson Vareajo’s problems start with the way he sets his hands at the free throw line. When he puts his right hand on the ball, his right hand faces to the side. When he moves the ball into his shooting position, he elbow flares wide. From this position, he has a tendency to shoot across the ball rather than straight to the basket.
LeBron James has a similar, though less pronounced problem. When he finishes his three dribbles as his routine, he sets the ball on his left hip. From this position, he does not always get his right hand all the way under the ball before he shoots. Rather than his hands directed at the rim, his fingers point slightly to the side.
When I teach free throw shooting, I want players to finish their routine on the right side (for a right-handed shooter). The fingers should point straight at the rim, not to the side. The ball should start on the right side of his body, whether the player sets at his hip, in front of his chest or at his shoulder. By keeping the fingers straight to the basket with the ball on the shooting side of the body, when the player moves the ball into shooting position and finishes his shot, his shooting arm stays in alignment, which is an efficient shooting technique and eliminates the misses to either side.