When the Jazz acquired Andris Biedrins over the summer, the thing most often noted was how terrible he shot from the free throw line.
As I wrote before, Biedrins was once in elite company as a 22-year old but has since deteriorated into one of the least productive players in the NBA – which is why the Warriors tossed in two 1st-round picks at the price of absorbing Biedrins’ (and two other players’) expiring contract. Much of Biedrins’ lack of productivity has been attributed to injury as well as a lack of confidence to do anything offensively due to a fear of being fouled and sent to the line. As you can see, over the past three seasons Biedrins went from being a “bad foul shooter” to an “absolutely horrific one.”
Andris Biedrins Career Free Throw Splits
The Jazz have had some bad free throw shooters in their 39-year history, so where do Biedrins career averages stack up with some of the worst in franchise history?
Here are the 7-worst free throw shooters in Jazz basketball history.
Note the one requirement was a minimum of 100 free throw attempts to qualify, so that eliminated a sharp-shooter such as Michael Ruffin (who shot 16-38 – 42.1% in 2003-04) or Calbert Cheaney (who bizarrely shot 50% from the field but only 40-69 – 58% from the line in 2002-03).
1. Olden Polynice
Center – 1999-01
For an example of how O.P. was so bad at the line that he even left Jerry Sloan sitting speechless and in awe – go to the 12:53-mark of this clip.
2. Kyrylo Fesenko
Center – 2007-11
3. Kris Humphries
Power Forward – 2004-06
4. Carl Nicks
Point Guard – 1980-82
5. J.J. Anderson
Small Forward – 1982-85
6. Greg Ostertag
Center – 1995-04, 2005-06
7. John Amaechi
Center – 2001-03
So at-worst Biedrins is in “Olden Polynice” territory, and at-best he’s in “Kris Humphries-to-Greg Ostertag” range. My advice to Biedrins this season is to go out and play aggressively when his number is called, wow us with more of this, and if he gets fouled he gets fouled. Whatever he does at the free throw line, we won’t be surprised. Much to our regret, we’ve seen it before.
If there’s one silver-lining to Biedrins’ free throw woes, it’s the joyous celebration that can occur when one is made. Here, in Game 2 of the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals between Biedrins’ Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz, Biedrins was fouled with 90-seconds remaining in a 1-point game. He stepped to the line and made both foul shots.
Three things about this that I love:
1.) Mickael Pietrus initial reaction (0:10-mark) to Biedrins being sent to the line.
2.) Al Harrington so excited that he accidently knocks his headband down over his eyes as he’s towel-waving (0:19-mark)
3.) And of course the “Biedrins made a free throw” celebratory handshake between Sarunas Jasikevicius and Mickael Pietrus (0:30-mark) that might be one of the greatest moments in the history of the NBA.
If we can get Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert to duplicate that handshake every time Biedrins makes a free throw this season, this could go down as one of the best trades the Jazz ever made regardless of where the Warriors’ picks end up being.
Get the nuances of that handshake down and this will be something we all look forward to seeing.