basketball, high five, NBA

Missed Free Throws and High Fives

Its not that bad

Previously I did a post on high fives after missed field goals. When I was drafting it up I thought of the NBA. You see it all the time – a player missed a free throw and he gets high fives from everyone. While it is called a free throw, I don’t think missing a free throw is as big of a sin as missing a field goal. It isn’t that egregious. Missing a field goal is like… getting a steak well done whereas missing a field throw is like ordering the steak medium. I am an apologist for missed free throws and high fives. Here is why.

A few reasons

  1. There are more opportunities to score in basketball than football.
    • For the ’16-’17 season the bottom team with shots/game were the Utah Jazz at 79.5 shots a game
    • In that same season the 30th ranked team in free throws attempted was the Dallas Mavericks at 18.5 a game
  2.  The average FT% for the NBA is and has been in the mid 70% for decades and it hasn’t substantially improved over time.
  3. Shooting a really good FT% doesn’t mean you will win a lot of games or make the playoffs. For the ’16-’17 season: Charlotte Hornets (81.5%), Dallas Mavericks (80.1%), Minnesota Timberwolves (79.9%). All in the top five in FT%, none made the playoffs.
  4. The NBA, while moving to position-less sport, still has specialists. You have your defender, your corner shooter, your distributor. Look at the below.  This is from the ’16-’17 season. Player that shot at least 50 FT and made less than 50%.
    • None of these players are the go to scorer
    • On the team to rebound and defend
    • None of them averaged more than 5.3 FTA/game


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Am I defending the likes of André Roberson? Sure. I am. But he can make up for his horrendous FT in so many other ways.

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