The NBA season’s first full month is over, and it has given us a hint of what to expect for the rest of the year. While the first month is still wildly early to make any kind of predictions over, it does give us an idea of how teams are playing, what they are doing well, and what they need to improve as time goes on.
And so far this season, we have an idea of which players are scoring at a high level. Especially when it comes to putting up points without free throws.
Stephen Curry leads the league in points per game without free throws, with Kevin Durant and Nikola Jokic right behind him. Paul George, Luka Doncic, Zach LaVine, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, and Jayson Tatum are next in line respectively.
Most PPG Without Free-Throws
1. Stephen Curry: 24.3
2. Kevin Durant: 22.8
3. Nikola Jokic: 22.1
4. Paul George: 21.9
5. Luka Doncic: 21.9
5. Zach LaVine: 21.0
6. Trae Young: 20.9
7. Donovan Mitchell: 20.3
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo: 20.2
9. Devin Booker: 20.1
10. Jayson Tatum: 19.9
Durant and Curry's inclusion on this list does not come as a surprise. The two players have been dominant on the scoring end, and have been paralleling each other. Before yesterday's games, Durant and KD had the same number of points in the same number of games.
Surprisingly, Luka Doncic is on the list. While there is no doubt about the immense talent and potential Doncic has, he had been very reliant on free throws over the last few seasons and had even become an expert at drawing contact in order to get to the free throw line.
One player who is not on the list is James Harden, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Harden has probably been the most affected by the NBA’s change in foul rules. But even he has seemingly turned a corner, but that means that he has found a way to draw contact that allows him to get to the free throw line.
These players are clearly performing at an extremely high level, and aren’t looking to get to the free-throw line in order to make a difference. It also appears that these players have adjusted well to the NBA’s change in foul rules, as referees don’t award free throws that easily.