AP Sports Writer
AUBURN HILLS (AP) — Andre Drummond hopes some advanced technology can help him with his free throws.
The Detroit center has been using virtual reality in an effort to improve his performance at the line. Drummond has made 38 percent of his free throws for his career, and it’s an issue that’s sometimes caused coach Stan Van Gundy to take him out down the stretch in games.
“Andre’s been very open to trying to find everything possible to help him improve at the free throw line, and he has wanted to do that,” Van Gundy said. “He’s been willing to do as much as he possibly can.”
That includes turning to virtual reality, which Drummond said allows him to visualize himself making free throw after free throw.
“They recorded me shooting a ton of free throws, and obviously recorded the makes, and watching over and over again and just training my brain,” he said.
The exercise underscores the degree to which the Pistons feel Drummond’s struggles are mental and not physical.
“When I tried it I ended up really liking it and stuck with it throughout the summer and I saw the progress,” Drummond said. “It’s more of a mental thing, and with the VR, it’s more of a reinforcement, kind of training your mind to think positively all the time — even though you’re not going to make every shot, but you still have that thought process that you’re making shots.”
The Pistons returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009, but they were swept in the first round by Cleveland. Drummond is a big part of a young lineup with the potential for a lot of improvement — and there’s certainly room for growth when he goes to the line.
He didn’t say how much he’s improved this offseason, since his success rate in practice doesn’t ultimately matter. He also indicated he doesn’t have a specific idea of a percentage he should shoot this season.
“I think that’s where I messed up last year, was setting a goal in my head,” he said. “I think for me, it’s just not worrying about makes or misses, just really shooting the same shot over and over again.”
NOTES: F Marcus Morris said there has been discussion within the team about taking a stand on social issues in light of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. “Where I’m from, just because of how it’s always been, you just learn not to really trust the police,” Morris said. “That’s just where I’m from, and that’s not necessarily a great thing, but I do know where I’ve been raised at, it’s been like that, and that’s not what I’m here for, to talk down on the police. Everybody who has eyes knows what’s going on. Everybody knows what they can see, what’s happening, so I’m just here to use my platform for what’s good.”
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