March 26, 2023

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One-handed free throws are back in the NBA (+33% accuracy). Why is this trick used so rarely

Spurs forward Jeremy Sohan is no stranger to being in the spotlight. Forget tattoos, pink hair, and Dennis Rodman comparisons.

Better try to think of another such player who, under the age of 20, managed to play in England, Poland and Germany, train exclusively via Skype for a long time, and then calmly leave in the top ten of the draft.

Compromising appearance is just one element (far from the most significant) of the complex and eclectic mosaic of Jeremy Sohan. And at the end of last year, he once again confirmed this by becoming a full-time free throw with one hand. The story with an atypical manner of implementing the basketball standard was instantly replicated, and only a little later they learned that such extravagance was not only a necessary measure, but also a kind of big advance on the part of the Spurs.

There were one-handed players before Sohan, but Jeremy’s case is more fundamental

Taking free kicks with one hand is not only not an innovation, but is also considered something of a demonstrative gesture.

Whether it’s Shaq’s All-Star joke.

Forced measures from Jermaine O’Neill.


Or trolling the notorious Rodman.

In normal matches, the choice of such a technique is often determined by circumstances. Mostly local trams.

Unfortunately, they just don’t work. One of the most memorable moments was free throws by Lyola Marymount University team player Bo Kimble. The defender began making every first free throw with one left hand in memory of childhood friend and teammate Hank Gaithers. On March 4, 1990, in a match against the Portland Pilots, one of the most talented and productive players in the NCAA collapsed and died of a heart attack .

As a result, the NCAA championship was suspended, and the Lyola Marymount Lions were automatically admitted to the tournament playoffs. It was then that Kimble, who was right-handed, came up with a dedication to his friend of many years, throwing left.

Fortunately, in the case of Sohan, everything is much more prosaic. Jeremy started throwing with one hand in the second half of December.

And at first, such an innovation caused some skepticism, even despite the comments of the player himself.

When I throw with one hand, my elbow is in the correct position. When I use both and direct the ball with one of them, then the elbow sticks out to the side. It should not be. Therefore, we are trying to correct this shortcoming. We started working on it a long time ago, but only a couple of matches ago, coach Popovic came up to me and said: “From now on, you will throw with one hand,” Sohan answered the burning question of reporters.

That is, it’s not so much about free throws, but about the mechanics of the shot as such, and the ability to hone the correct technique when entering the line is a kind of additional opportunity, a bonus. And the fact that the Spurs immediately set about fixing the errors in the rookie’s playing style suggests that the club is counting on the guy in the long term.

“Many people pay attention to hair color, but if you get to know it better, you will understand that this is just a way to express your attitude towards art, culture and fashion. These things are important to Jeremy and he is a very patient and deep person. He is one of those who can easily live half a year in Tibet, ”one of the Spurs coaches, John Jakus, characterizes the newcomer.

There was no need to wait for Sohan’s progress for six months.In the first 23 games of the season, Sohan converted 11 of 24 free throws (45.8%), and since the change in shooting style (December 19) he has hit 29 of 37 free throws (78.4%). The fact that work gives results not only on the free throw line is also evidenced by the recent match against Phoenix, in which Jeremy set a personal performance record.

True, Sohan himself does not flatter himself. And it is captivating.

“Everything is going well, but it is a long process. Improvement requires constant and hard work. I believe in this technique and in the people who work with me. There are many of them, and I am grateful to everyone,” Sohan admits.