Ahh, the first article about Shaq and free throw shooting since the Big Bricker came to Boston. I knew the free throw issue would come up sometime, but I never realized how stubborn Shaq is in his free throw-missing ways. (WEEI)
“I never take advice,” O’Neal told WEEI.com after Tuesday’s practice, saying he learned that lesson by his second season in the league.
“Actually taking advice made my numbers drop. Whatever you use to get you to where you are at you should never change.”
Where O’Neal is at is an incredibly successful basketball player, which a prolific ability to miss free throws. He has the second-worst free throw shooting percentage in the history of the NBA (.527), with Chamberlain the only player to have shot worse (.511).
(Fear not, even if O’Neal duplicates his 112-for-226 performance of a season ago — .496 – it will only knock him down to .526.)
When I was younger (a lot younger), I was miserable at finishing left-handed layups. I’d be wide open on a fast break and two seconds later all I could hear was clank. I’d beat my defender to the middle of the lane and rise up with the left hand: airball. Yes, airball. On a layup. I’m telling you, if I went up with the left hand I was going to miss. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
So what did I do? Did I say, “Ya know what? I know I suck ass at making left-handed layups, but I never take advice. Whatever I used to get me to where I am at (a.k.a. whatever makes me miss every lefty layup I attempt), I should never change. If it’s 100% broke, don’t fix it.”?
Of course I didn’t. I asked my coach what I was doing wrong, and I spent day after day in my driveway working on my off hand. I eventually got to the point where I wasn’t quite ambidextrous, but I could at least make open layups.
Alas, Shaq is 38 years old. He’s well past the point where he can improve his free throw shooting significantly. Still, “I never take advice” is not a good way to get any better.