Coach tackles Nuggets’ free-throw woes head on

Brian Shaw (center) has been using conventional means to try to get players Wilson Chandler (left), J.J. Hickson and others to shoot better from the free-throw line.

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It’s like that schoolyard bully who would stand a few feet away and not move, telling the kid to hit him with his best shot – if he could.

The only difference here is that the kid is the Denver Nuggets, a franchise in a professional basketball league, and the players on the team can’t hit foul shots, even with incentives.

Coach Brian Shaw has been scraping for ways to get his guys shooting better than 69.9 percent from the line, and on Monday, he tried a new trick: He stood underneath the basket, telling the players that if they could hit their shots, he’d let the ball bop him on the head after it came through the cylinder.

"What I did was I joked with the guys that the safest place in the building to stand when we’re at the free throw line is right underneath the net," Shaw said, as reported by Jeff Caplan of

"So I gave everybody on the team basically a chance to shoot a free throw with myself standing under the net with my hands down, where if they made it the ball would hit me on top of the head."

Shaw said he’s "trying by any means necessary" to improve the free throw shooting. A few players were able to nail him, and the ones who don’t get a lot of playing time were "really, really aiming for me," he said.

If this works, the Nuggets could improve their charity stripe percentage and perhaps win a few games. If not, though (and if the practice regimen continues), Shaw may have something worse on his hands, a la the player who can’t drill the kid five feet away with the dodge ball: dented pride.