What Andris Biedrins and Kwame Brown's Free-Throw Limitations Mean for Warriors

Chris FinocchioCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Kwame Brown #54 of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 97-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The combination of Kwame Brown and Andris Biedrins play about 35 minutes a game at the center spot for the Golden State Warriors. And the Warriors would be much better off if those two were better free-throw shooters.

Per game, Brown averages 1.6 makes on 4.1 free throws—37.9 percent.  Biedrins has two free-throw attempts on the year and has missed both. 

What if, instead of the centers making 11-of-31 free throws this season, they made made 21, which would be 65 percent? Those extra 10 points would give the Warriors about 1.4 more points a game which over the course of a normal 82-game season would equate to four more victories.

Will the shooting continue to be this bad?

Brown is a career 57 percent shooter, but has been below that average in seven of his last eight years. Since the 2009-10 season began, Biedrins has made 14-of-58 FTA.  So don't expect them to get much better.

It's an oversimplification to say that making the centers shoot 65 percent from the line makes the Warriors four games better over the course of a season.

This is because the number of free-throw attempts a player gets and his free-throw percentage are not independent.  Biedrins shoots less free throws as a result of his terribleness and Brown more. 

Biedrins is so terrible at shooting free throws now that it causes him to be extremely passive on offense.

A December Marcus Thompson II article for the San Jose Mercury discusses Biedrins' efforts to improve his focus on free throws and increase his confidence but also states that coach Mark Jackson is content for Biedrins to just rebound and block shots.

A contentment that reflects a doubt that the 2007-08 Biedrins that scored 10.5 points a game and shot 62 percent on free throws will ever be returning. 

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 07:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles the ball while guarded by Raja Bell #19 and Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena on January 7, 2012 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
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At what point is your free-throw shooting so bad that it is rational to not want to go to the rim?

Brown elicits that question—he's shooting 48 percent on two-point field goals this year.

Why would you let a guy go to the rim cleanly if you can foul him and if called, he'd shoot a lower percentage on the free throws than on the layup? 

The Warriors don't have many scoring options outside of Monta Ellis now. The pick and roll with Kwame has been going very well, with the big man scoring 1.18 PPP while shooting 70 percent on field goals and getting fouled 17.6 percent of the time. 

I expect Brown to start getting fouled more around the rim especially, making him a less efficient scorer.

Hopefully, unlike Biedrins, misses at the line won't cause him to stop attacking, because though the free throws pull down his efficiency, he still seems better than any other options the Warriors have. 

Joakim Noah and his 77 percent free-throw shooting would be very nice for the Warriors to now have.