Korean Basketball League Goes Viral for Revolutionary Free Throw Method

KBL players are notching high foul shot percentages by relying on the bank shot.

David Madison / Getty Images

Basketball enthusiasts have discovered an unconventional, highly efficient free throw method courtesy of the Korean Basketball League.

A compilation video of KBL players shooting foul shots recently went viral after fans caught wind of the league's reliance on the bank shot.

Eric Fawcett, a coach who doubles as a consultant for college basketball teams, posted a clip on Twitter that showed KBL players knocking down free throws via the once-trusted bank shot.

“Interesting trend from the Korean Basketball League where a number of players are 80%+ from the free throw line shooting exclusively bank shots,” Fawcett wrote.

Interesting trend from the Korean Basketball League where a number of players are 80%+ from the free throw line shooting exclusively bank shots. pic.twitter.com/OBKmVW3pfa

— Eric Fawcett (@EricFawcett_) August 31, 2023
Twitter: @EricFawcett_

The first time I saw a player doing it I was like “wow that’s interesting, and he’s shooting 82% from the stripe.” Second time I was surprised again, but when I saw a third, fourth, fifth, and more players doing it I realized it was actually an interesting trend in the league.

— Eric Fawcett (@EricFawcett_) August 31, 2023
Twitter: @EricFawcett_

Fawcett, whose post has since earned more than 3.5 million views, subsequently spoke with Slate about how he discovered KBL's efficient free throw rate, revealing that he came across the strategy while searching for new ways to understand analytics in American basketball.

"I kind of have this FOMO where I’m scared there will be an offensive concept that’s revolutionary going on around the globe and me not knowing about it,” Fawcett told the outlet. “So I’m constantly watching other leagues to see if there is anything innovative I can bring to the college game. So, this time I thought I’d check out Korean basketball.”

One side effect of banked free throws is the chaotic rebounds it creates, often benefiting the offensive side. https://t.co/mFHUlwLONp pic.twitter.com/wMGQiiY4aA

— Eric Fawcett (@EricFawcett_) September 3, 2023
Twitter: @EricFawcett_

The post has since caught the eye of NBA analytics gurus like Kirk Goldsberry, who re-posted Fawcett's video on Instagram. In Goldsberry's post, he questioned whether NBA players can learn something from the KBL's bank shot strategy.

"Is everything we know about free throw strategy wrong?" Goldsberry captioned the video. "I don’t think so, but I do believe there is something here for SOME players. Should everyone use the glass all the time for free throws? Again, hell no, but my research over the last 24 hours is suggesting it’s worth a look for players who have spent years struggling at the line without breaking through."

Goldsberry continued by pointing out that many players at all levels of the sport have subpar free throw percentages, yet most are cautious about changing their approach in favor of an unorthodox method.

"Why is that?" Goldsberry questioned. "Rick Barry already proved that underhanded free throws are effective, but we still don’t use them. Now Koreans are challenging conventional wisdom with the window, and I’m here for it. 4 of the best free throw shooters in the Korean Basketball League are all glass all the time - that demands at least consideration."

He added that "struggling FT shooters in the NBA like Steven Adams and Giannis owe it to themselves to at least try this out in practice for a few weeks."

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