Free-throw shooting is one of the most important parts of the game. I can't tell you how many times I've seen teams blow leads, lose games, series, and even championships for not being able to connect from the charity stripe, which is simply outrageous.
The free-throw line is free for a reason. There's no easier bucket, there's no defense, it's all up to you. Sadly, the pressure gets the best of the players from time to time. It's either that or their reluctance to work on those freebies and get better from the line.
That's why it's so important to have reliable and trustworthy free-throw shooters on your team. Those guys that won't crumble to the pressure and will get you one, two, or three easy points. Today, we'll honor them by letting you know about the top 10 free-throw shooters of the season.
10. Khris Middleton - 89.5 FT%
This further cements the case of Khris Middleton being criminally underrated. Not only he's a great playmaker and willing passer but he's also an efficient scorer from all three levels, an above-average wing defender, and a trustworthy free-throw shooter - clearly better than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Thus far, he's knocking down 2.9 of his 3.3 attempts from the line, and he should be more aggressive to get there more often.
9. Terrence Ross - 89.7 FT%
While Terrence Ross has made a living around the league mostly out of his athleticism, he's always been quite a good shooter as well. In fact, that was one of the main reasons why he was often the X-factor with the Toronto Raptors before being traded to the Orlando Magic. Now, he continues to showcase his skills from the charity stripe by netting 2.3 of his 2.5 trips to the free-throw line per game.
8. Kyrie Irving - 90.4 FT%
When it comes to scoring, there aren't many players that can do what Kyrie Irving can do. He's got the whole package. He can dribble, pull up from everywhere on the court, find gaps of space, or finish below the rim with his unmatched layup package. He can also get to the line almost at will thanks to his savviness and smooth moves, and he's currently knocking down 3.7 of his 4.1 free-throw attempts per game.
7. Malcolm Brogdon - 90.6 FT%
Malcolm Brogdon has to be one of the most underrated players in the world right now. The former Rookie of the Year reeks of efficiency and he can do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. He can play on and off the ball, he's a versatile defender - especially when switching - and he's automatic from the free-throw line. This season, he's scoring 2.9 points per game from the line.
6. Immanuel Quickley - 92.9 FT%
It's still pretty early to tell but it seems like Immanuel Quickley will have a similar career to Lou Williams, as they have pretty much the same skillset. The rookie out of Kentucky is a walking bucket and knows how to make the most of his limited minutes, either knocking down floaters, pulling up from three, or drawing contact to get to the line. Right now, he's scoring 2.8 points from the line on 3.0 attempts per game.
5. Damian Lillard - 93.4 FT%
When you're in need of a bucket, there's not another player in the world that you'd want to call before Damian Lillard. He's got ice in his veins and is perhaps the most reliable scorer in the clutch we've seen in ages. That includes being cool and calm from the free-throw line whenever he's called upon, as he's scoring 3.9 of his 29.6 points per game from the charity stripe this season.
4. Danilo Gallinari - 93.6 FT%
The only thing that has always held back Danilo Gallinari as one of the best scorers in the league has been his proneness to get hurt. This year, he's once again showcasing his offensive repertoire albeit in a limited sample due to injury. Thus far, he's made 59 of his 63 free-throw attempts this season so his efficiency is likely to take a dip towards the end of the year.
3. Stephen Curry - 94.0 FT%
The only thing that's more impressive than Stephen Curry's ability to knock down shots from all over the court is the efficiency he has as a scorer. No wonder why he's a member of the 50/40/90 club and is considered to be the greatest shooter in the history of basketball. This season, he's knocking down a whopping 94% of his freebies while attempting 5.4 per game.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns - 94.6 FT%
Like it happens with Gallinari, Karl-Anthony Towns' numbers from the line are likely to take a dip, as he's barely played at all this season due to injuries and Covid-19. Even so, he's still been quite impressive with 53 makes on 56 attempts through the 12 games he's been able to play. He's always been a solid free-throw shooter but those numbers seem unsustainable.
1. Chris Paul - 97.2 FT%
Chris Paul has a shot at taking down Jose Calderon's record of 98.1% shooting over a season but it won't be easy. Thus far, the Point God has made 69 out of his 71 free-throws and is averaging a career-high 97.2% from the charity stripe. Obviously, he's not as aggressive as he used to be so he's not shooting free-throws as often as he used to, so perhaps that'll help him take that record.