Andre Drummond, hot at free throw line, says it’s ‘a mental thing’

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond has shown off a greatly improved free-throw shooting stroke in exhibition games this year, going 16-for-20 from the foul line in three games. (Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

DETROIT — Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond just completed an exhibition season where he averaged 16 points and 16 rebounds in three games.

He shot 50% from the field and 80% from the line.

Yep, you read that correctly.

One of the worst free-throw shooters in league history pulled off a 16-for-20 stretch.

You would expect regression in the regular season, which begins Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets visit Little Caesars Arena.

But if Drummond can somehow manage shooting in the 50-to-60 percent range, it would be a major unexpected boon for the Pistons this season.

No more double-clutching around the rim trying to avoid contact.

“It’s all a mental thing at the end of the day,” Drummond said after Monday’s practice.

“When I do get up there I feel like I’m making it every time and if I do miss, shake it off and shoot the same shot again without any hesitation.”

Drummond credits returning to a trainer from his youth in the off-season.

The form, which appears geared toward keeping his weight forward, differs greatly from previous seasons.

He takes one hard dribble away from his body before bending deeply at the knees, before rising up for a repeatable release. His arms are noticeably stretched out in front before rising up for the shot.

“Lock-in and focus are the words I use,” Drummond said earlier this month. “When I get to the line, I just shoot the shot. It’s something I worked on every single day this summer and I’m just trying to be consistent with it.”

Mums the word: Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said he knows the starting lineup for Wednesday night.

He just isn’t telling.

The following sequence occurred when a reporter started a question about Stanley Johnson.

Van Gundy: “We know who we’re going to start.”

Reporter: “Well, tell us then.”

A smiling Van Gundy: “Nope. I guarantee you an hour before the game on Wednesday, you’ll know.”

Reporter: “You’re not going to tell us in the morning on Wednesday?”

Van Gundy: “Maybe, I don’t know.”

A quick guess says Drummond, Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson, Avery Bradley and Reggie Jackson will get their first crack as a starting lineup.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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