When opposing coaches don’t have adequate weapons or ideas on how to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo, they order their players to foul him. It isn’t the prettiest way, but it is useful. The two-time MVP has never been a great shooter, and he always had problems with sinking those free throws.
Giannis averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists last season, but his free-throws were at 63.3%, which is just too low for someone who is continuously bodying people to get to the paint and drawing fouls. His free throw percentage was hurting the Bucks, so for this upcoming season, Giannis decided to boost his numbers up in a distressing way.
Antetokounmpo would shoot a couple of free throws when he was in the most exhausting part of the training. When his heart was racing, sweat dripped down his head, and he was breathing heavily – Giannis wanted to have a real environment type of workout. He also added a little twist. If he missed his free throws, his coaches would need to run, and he would need to watch. The idea was to be as focused as he can be, and if he wasn’t, other people would pay for his poor shooting.
As if that wasn’t enough, he brought along his girlfriend Mariah Danae Riddlesprigger to the gym with their ten-month-old son Liam. Now the stakes were even higher because he had to watch his girlfriend run with Liam if he misses. Giannis showed us the improvement in the first preseason game against Dallas. He made six out of seven free throws.
“There’s nothing different. I try not to think about it. Obviously, like a month and a half ago, yeah, I changed something, but now it’s in the past. I’m not thinking about this is how I shoot free throws right now. This is how I shoot the ball right now.”Giannis Antetokounmpo, The Athletic
Happiness for Giannis and the Bucks didn’t last long. In the second preseason game against the Mavs, he made only one out of seven. Maybe the stakes in the workouts weren’t high enough after all. Giannis still has to find his shooting form this season, especially after signing that $228.2 million supermax extension with the franchise.