Last season, Hassan Whiteside shot 50% from the free throw line, and a very impressive 63% from the field. However, his percentages may have been even better as they took a major hit after he hurt his hand. Fast forward to current day, and he made his preseason debut on Saturday where he put up 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 blocks. The stat line wasn’t too shabby for his debut, except for the fact that he went 0-9 from the charity stripe. Hassan Whiteside still seems to believe that his free throw shooting won’t be a problem though.
What’s even more strange about this is that Whiteside has been feeling better about his free throws than he ever has. He told us on 790 The Ticket that, with his hand healed after a severe laceration late last season, “I expect the free throws and the jumpshot percentage to go way high.”
He added: “I think I’m gonna shoot like around 75, or 75 or above, or at least over 70. That’s really a goal for me. Pat Riley kind of was the first person to say, ‘I think that should be one of your goals for this year.’ And I really worked on it a lot.”
Here’s the problem, before hurting his hand, Whiteside only shot 53% from the free throw line. I might have believed in Whiteside more if he shot around 60% or higher before hurting his hand, but shooting a mere 53% is not going to give anyone confidence that you can improve that to 70 or 75%.
On the flip side, the fact that Whiteside is setting such a high goal shows that he is focused on greatly improving his game. He had a free throw rate of .403, so if he improves his free throw percentage to at least 70, that could have a nice impact on Miami’s scoring output. Taking his average amount of free throws into account, if he improved his percentage, that would mean he’s making at least one more free throw per game.
I know, I know, one point doesn’t sound like a lot at all, but if you keep adding one more point per game, it will also add more and more confidence to Whiteside’s game as time goes on. We all know that in the sport of basketball, confidence plays a big part in the rise of playing levels, and with a young big man like Hassan Whiteside, more confidence means more hustle plays and better play on both sides of the ball. So shoot for the stars Mr. Whiteside, it’s only going to help in the long run and Miami fans will love to see him get his 2K rating up.