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Pump up the volume on Free Throws

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A historical look at who has hurt the Jazz from the line, and vice versa

Karl Malone examines the ball Photo by: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Last night the Utah Jazz got pantsed (sp?) on the road in Portland. It’s not the only time that’s happened - and that happens quite a lot if you look at the data. So I’m not really surprised. We saw Damian Lillard put up 59 points - the third most ever against the Jazz. He also went to the line 16 times, making 14. In my skewed point of view I feel, in my black heart, that the Jazz are getting jobbed by the refs. Heck, even the General Manager of the team, the honorable Dennis Lindsey, keeps a database on the subject. By the eye-ball test I think the other team is getting their best players to the line a lot more than ‘our’ best players are going.

I get that this Jazz team is slow, they don’t score a lot, but it’s still an efficient offense. And there’s nothing in the game more efficient than taking shots when a) the clock is stopped, and b) there’s no one defending your shot. That’s a free throw. And that’s a big deal for me.

So I went to Basketball-Reference.com to take a look at this. And the results just show my Jazz bias more than anything else. Their data base is from the 80s onwards. And the data shows that . . . I’m wrong. I checked for each time, regular season and playoffs combined, that a New Orleans / Utah Jazz player got to the line 15+ times in a game (link), and for when it was someone playing against the New Orleans / Utah Jazz and did the same (link).

How many times have a Jazz player gotten to the line 15+ times in a game? 343.

How many times has a Jazz opponent gotten to the line 15+ times in a game? 305.

Of course, Karl Malone did it 185 times, Adrian Dantley 91 times, and Pete Maravich 11 times. Outside of those three guys there have only been 56 total Jazz games where a player has gotten to the line 15+ times in a game.

If you look at the opponents, out side of their top three (Hakeem Olajuwon 18, Kobe Bryant 14, Shaquille O’Neal 13) there have been 260 times where it was someone else getting volume FTAs.

So maybe it’s a half- eye-ball test? Overall, the Jazz have gotten more big volume games at the line; but it’s top heavy. More guys have gotten big games against the Jazz than not. (136 different opponents vs. 23 total Jazzmen)

Jazzmen:

  • Karl Malone 185
  • Adrian Dantley 91
  • Pete Maravich 11
  • John Drew / Andrei Kirilenko 8
  • Truck Robinson / Deron Williams 6
  • Gordon Hayward 5
  • Thurl Bailey / John Stockton 4
  • Alec Burks / Rick Kelley 2
  • David Benoit / Carlos Boozer / Rudy Gobert / Rickey Green / Jeff Malone / Wesley Matthews / Jim McElroy / Paul Millsap / Mehmet Okur / Danny Schayes / Slick Watts 1

Opponents:

  • Hakeem Olajuwon 18
  • Kobe Bryant 14
  • Shaquille O’Neal 13
  • Allen Iverson / Michael Jordan 8
  • Tim Duncan / Magic Johnson 7
  • Dan Issel / Kevin Johnson 6
  • World B. Free / Bob McAdoo / Dirk Nowitzki / Dwyane Wade 5
  • Carmelo Anthony / Tom Chambers / John Drew / Kevin Durant / Artis Gilmore / Manu Ginobili / Grant Hill / Dwight Howard / Corey Maggette / Tracy McGrady 4
  • Adrian Dantley / LeBron James / Moses Malone / Kevin Martin / Cedric Maxwell / Yao Ming / Amare Stoudemire / David Thompson 3
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Gilbert Arenas / Charles Barkley / Elton Brand / Frank Brickowski / Tyreke Evans / James Harden / Jamal Mashburn / George McGinnis / Alonzo Mourning / Dikembe Mutombo / Paul Pierce / Zach Randolph / CLifford Robinson / Arvydas Sabonis / Latrell Sprewell / Jerry Stockthouse / Isiah Thomas / Kiki Vandeweghe / Gerald Wallace / Chris Webber / Eric Williams 2
  • 70+ other dudes, 1

In the playoffs scoring is harder. And when things are hard, find something easy to do, and do it well. This means getting to the line, and making the other team pay.

#MakeFreeThrowsFreeAgain