Ed Wood wrote:That specific sample isn't large enough to inspire confidence, but he hasn't been a good free throw shooter across a significantly larger sample if you aggregate across years and the different competitions he's participated in.
I'm only slightly worried about the poor FT shooting. The sample size is small and he is very young. When I see his shooting form, I'm pretty reassured that his shot isn't broken.
I don't think he'll settle in as an 88% FT shooter or anything, but I'm fairly confident he'll eventually shoot in the mid 70's, which is good enough. There are plenty of bad shooters as freshmen in college who panned out to be good enough in the NBA. It's usually only the centers with broken shot form that never figure out the free throw mechanics.
Right, bigs who cannot put enough arc under their shot to get friendly bounces. Or guys with huge hands for which the usual mechanics don't work. The concern for me was that his poor shooting was noted to affect the rest of his game:As he works closely with highly regarded Maccabi assistant Veljko Perovic, here are Avdija's greatest improvement areas:
Avdija struggled mightily around the rim all tournament, to the point where he appeared to develop a case of the yips for stretches, blowing wide-open right-hand layups or air-balling short floaters. He lacks a degree of physicality as a finisher, too often shying away from contact and lacking versatility in his technique. Predominantly a one-leg jumper, Avdija must find more ways to keep the defense guessing while utilizing his size and strength, in order to benefit in the long run.
2. Shooting consistency
For all the worthy praise about his natural touch, the percentages still speak for themselves. His free throw issues were a problem all tournament, so much so that he started staying after games for extra reps. He would avoid contact around the rim with panic shot fakes in part because of his ineffectiveness at the free throw line. For a player who generally plays with confidence, the mental aspect of his free throw woes is noteworthy.
It's not going to be easier to finish in the NBA. Players like to put a rookie in their place. Refs won't help you out until you have earned it. And if teams realize he gets anxious at the line that becomes an extra weapon. He plays best with confidence, so hopefully he gets enough success early that confidence doesn't become an additional hurdle. The real concern for me was this:
5. Inconsistent energy
Part of this is energy conservation while playing a big role, but Avdija walks on the floor too often, sometimes not even crossing the half-court line (a pet peeve among NBA scouts). He has occasional dips in intensity defensively, as well. He loves to point and switch assignments and doesn't always want to leave the paint to contest jumpers.
This year is going to be a marathon sprint. Packing in back to backs and 72 games to finish before the Olympics, while occasionally squeezing the schedule when games are postponed for quarantine issues, or teams are short handed. If he is sandbagging at the Euro level where they only play twice a week, he is going to be huffing and panting trying to keep up with the faster quicker NBA pace, and the fast break pace and space era where we have tacked on an additional 20 possessions a game since the bang and bump half court era.