Rick Barry Wants to Teach LeBron James How to Shoot Free Throws

by July 18, 2013

Hall of Famer Rick Barry has offered his free-throw magic to just about every NBA superstar it seems. The latest to receive such an offer is LeBron James, and Barry says he doesn’t need to shoot his freebies underhanded to improve. Per Fox Sports: “The Miami Heat star vows to improve his free-throw shooting this summer and says he doesn’t need a shooting coach. But Barry disagrees with that approach and recommends somebody who could work on James’ technique, which he believes is slightly flawed. Himself. ‘If he was interested in getting my opinion, I would show him,’ the Hall of Famer, who shot 90 percent in his NBA career using the underhanded style, said. ‘I’m not going to show him the underhanded free throw. He doesn’t need that because he’s not that far away from being an 80-percent shooter. Dwight Howard (a 57.7 percent career marksman) needs to shoot underhanded. But there are some things I could show LeBron to refine his shooting.’ James shot 75.3 percent last season to raise his career mark to 74.7. That’s not bad but hardly spectacular. It’s one of the few parts of James’ game that isn’t great. After a season in which he won his second straight NBA title and fourth MVP trophy in five years, James discussed his offseason plans for improving his foul shooting. But he doesn’t plan to enlist any help. ‘I don’t need a shooting coach,’ James said. ‘For me, I think it’s just continue the repetition and then continue to work on it. During my workouts in (the) summertime, when I’m dead tired, those are opportunities where I should go to the free-throw line and challenge myself to calm my breath down and be able to go up there and make five in a row or make 10 in a row. … I think it’s more mental than anything.’ Heat president Pat Riley said ‘our goal is to get him over 90 percent.’ That prompted Barry to say, ‘First, he should shoot 80. You’re not a good free-throw shooter if you’re not shooting at least 80.’ […] ‘The worst thing you can do is go out there and practice inappropriately,’ said Barry, who starred at the University of Miami and then in the NBA and ABA from 1965 to 1980. ‘Then you’re practicing inappropriately and grooming bad habits. … LeBron needs to be much more fluid (with his stroke). He needs to have somebody watching him to analyze him to make sure what he is doing is the absolute right thing because what is is doing right now is not the correct thing. He’s doing a disservice to himself if he’s just grooving what he’s doing now.’ Barry said one key to being a top-flight marksman is using the exact form for each shot. He said James has some minor flaws in his stroke, which makes it difficult to each time replicate the same movement.”