Art of the Free Throw
Mo Williams, Milwaukee Bucks
The Free Throw:
Like most NBA players, Mo Williams is very consistent when it comes to his free throw shot. Every time he’s at the line, he goes through the same motions to ready himself for his attempt. But if you look closely at Williams’ routine, you’ll notice a few things that stand out. First, Mo always steps into his stance at the same time he’s getting the ball from the referee. This helps him set his feet. Second, he moves the ball around his back from right to left. “This helps me get my rhythm,” he said. “Then once I get my feet together and get my rhythm, I spin it backwards, take three dribbles and catch it.” But he doesn’t just catch it. He makes sure that the fingers on his right hand – his shooting hand – are touching the word “SPALDING” on the basketball. “I always have to have my fingers on the SPALDING,” he noted. “Always.” Once he’s done all of this, he’s ready to shoot. And it’s working. Through Milwaukee’s first 19 games, Mo leads the team in free throw shooting with an 84.8 percentage.
“It’s all about rhythm,” Williams further explained. “Just like on jump shots, you want to get into a good rhythm. I found that rhythm by passing the ball around my back and then taking three dribbles to gather myself. Players find themselves taking jump shots from all different angles. Sometimes they’re dribbling to the left, while other times they’re dribbling to the right. Sometimes you’re falling forwards and sometimes you’re falling backwards. But with free throws, you’re always shooting the same way. So it’s important to find a rhythm.” After connecting on 78.6 percent (44-56) of his shots his rookie season in Utah, Williams worked on his shot and made 85.0 percent (136-160) last year with the Bucks. “My goal before the start of the season was to lead the league in free throw shooting,” Williams said.