ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s the only time Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has laughed during the Orlando summer league. Canyon Barry stepped to the free-throw line Sunday and swished his underhanded attempt.
Even Hornacek can't help but laugh at Canyon Barry's underhand free throw pic.twitter.com/Iz7A1zqp8r
— NYK Insider (@NykInsider) July 2, 2017
In part ode to his famous father, Rick Barry, Canyon will become the only NBA player to shoot underhanded free throws if he’s on the Knicks’ training-camp roster.
Canyon has done it that way since junior high school, unlike his two brothers, Jon and Brent, who had solid NBA careers as role players.
Hornacek, a shooting technician, hasn’t said a word to Canyon about it. After the Knicks fell to 0-3 Monday, Hornacek was not made available to the media to talk about Barry, and the Knicks had off Tuesday.
The 23-year-old shot 80.8 percent in his four-year college career and set the Florida school record, making 39 straight.
“[Jeff] has a great basketball IQ and good eye for the game,’’ Canyon Barry told The Post. “If I’m making my free throws, whether I’m throwing them in backward, underhand or overhand, as long as I’m making them, he’ll be happy. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Rick Barry is fourth on the NBA’s all-time list for free-throw shooting percentage at 89.3 percent. He stood as the all-time top free-throw shooter in the defunct ABA (87.4) when he played for the New York Nets.
But Jon and Brent Barry wanted no part of the underhanded thing. Canyon, who played at Florida after three years at the College of Charleston, fell in love with the unorthodoxy.
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“Brent did one season in college and switched back to overhand,’’ Canyon Barry said Monday after the Knicks dropped their third straight summer-league game. “If you’re a good free-throw shooter, you don’t need to switch. They’re all 8o percent for their career. I grew up and liked the technique, practiced it, honed it and decided it was better for me.
“All of us brothers know the form. [My father] taught us the technique and let us decide on our own. I think it’s nice I’m able to shoot underhanded and pay a little tribute to him. He was such a great player to be able to continue the underhand free throw in the game of basketball.’’
The added attention he does not mind — chuckling at some of his hecklers.
“In a high school playoff game, the opposing team’s student section — after I finally missed one — all started chanting, ‘You’re adopted,’” Canyon said. “That was pretty funny. Give them props for that one.’’
Undrafted, Barry, a 6’6 small forward, was signed to the summer-league team without any guarantee. He hopes he’ll get the training camp invite. He could well wind up on the D-League Westchester Knicks as a non-roster player.
However, former Knicks president Phil Jackson signed him, and the organization’s view on talent is slowly evolving away from triangle fits.
“I think I have a really high basketball IQ growing up with my family dynamic, surrounded by the game,’’ said Canyon, who is shooting 5 of 15 from the floor. “I know how the game is supposed to be played and had brothers in the NBA and know what it takes to be successful.’’
To struggling big men such as Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan, Canyon would recommend giving underhanded a try.
“You see people shoot these poor percentages in the NBA and college,’’ Canyon said. “I’m shocked more people don’t try to switch and give it a try. It’s such a soft shot, comes out of your hand in a lower trajectory, especially for a lot of big guys with big hands, it’s hard to shoot the overhand motion. It’s natural motion.’’