“He’s really good at getting to the line.” It’s spoken as a great compliment to a player and it makes sense. To a certain degree. Getting to the FT line generally equates to putting enough pressure on the defense that they’re forced to foul you. You always hear coaches and players setting targets about getting to the stripe, and speaking to how it’s the mark of maturity. I’ve always found this stat a little deceiving because it doesn’t reflect your ability to score, and can mask scoring inefficiency by pumping up PPG.

Looking at this stat without considering fourth quarter production is also an issue, because it doesn’t account for refs swallowing the whistle when the game gets tight, especially on the road. There is of course a stat that combines FT shooting, scoring, and three-point shooting into one metric, and that’s TS%. Before you even follow that link and look for where the Raptors players stand, let me tell you that you won’t find Andrea Bargnani or DeMar DeRozan as the top four Raptors players. In fact, the first of those two doesn’t appear till position #158 in the list.

If we look at FTA/36, the numbers look a little more respectable (DeRozan’s FTA/36 was a career-high 5.4 last season, and the same was true for Bargnani’s 6.0). The aforementioned issues of this stat, and the rather spanning formula of the TS% (PTS / (2 * (FGA + 0.44 * FTA))) leave something to be desired, so let’s fall back to the stat that doesn’t quite get enough glory: FTA/FGM. In other words, it asks the question of how many FTs does a player take for every FG he makes? For the Raptors, the order is:

So, even though Bargnani is ahead in FTAs made, DeRozan has an edge in terms of rate. Looking at this for the whole NBA and considering 1000+ point scorers to filter out the dross, the top dogs are:

Dwight Howard 1.375
James Harden  1.194
John Wall     1.06
Kevin Love    0.97
Paul Pierce   0.873
DeMar DeRozan 0.868
Blake Griffin 0.834

What? DeRozan? Alright! A Raptor in the top ten of a stat. Turns out DeRozan’s getting to the line thingy is actually on par with the NBA’s top talents, now the question is can he scale that by upping his field goal percentage from 42.2% to something in the 45-47% range. As a reference, Harden is at 49.1% and Pierce is at 44.3%. Considering he shot 46.7% the year before, you’d think his performance this season is a bit of a low, so if he can get his mid-range shooting stroke back to second-year levels, he should be OK. The defense though, is another matter.

  • cesco

    So Andrea is part of the ‘”dross’ because he scored less than 1000 points ? . Griffin is # 7 in the FTA/FGM stat for those scoring over 1000 points at 0.834 , Andrea has 0.83 so he is for sure in the top 10 among the starters in the league regardless of how many points they scored during the season .

    • Arsenalist

      Woah woah woah…how did this turn into something about Andrea? You need to take out everyone who scored below 1000 so people like Jamaal Magloire don’t top that list.   

      For the record, let me state that Andrea is great and shits gold.

      • cesco

        Sorry , I shouldn’t have written that first sentence , I knew the stat was meant to show the better players in the league .

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!


      Arnett Moultrie 2012 NBA Draft Workout

      • HitItHardFromTheBack

        Myboi outta Memphis TN got that jump shot goin on thats fo sho! He smooth for a PF.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!


        NBA Draft Combine Participants- where real players height & measurements with & without shoes will be officially made known for the 2012 NBA Draft.

  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    The metric “W/L” instead says why D. Casey wanted AB7 back from injury

    Bargnani 13-18  0.72
    DeRozan 22-41  0.54

    • Idiot

      To get winning percentage divide wins by games played, not by losses.

      • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

        I never wrote about winning percentage. If it was so would be % near them, dear Idiot. It’s just Mats

        • Anton

          “Don’t feed a pig.”

    • Truthkiller

      Bargnani 22-60 0.3667 

    • DC

      Your right Bargnani is so fucking good. He’s the god of basketball why all others are just pawns. We should all recognize Barg’s greatness and his 7 years of being here. He’s the best did you see that game 2 years ago whe he dropped 38 on CB? geez only the greats can do what he does. The only reason why Bargs didn’t win MVP and scoring champ this year is because of injuries. Next year bargs is gonna lead us to winning 70 games and further cement his legacy as greatest player of all time. 

      • Lorenzo

         That’s debatable..

  • 234567890

    Bargnani is so good man, which is why we were able to beat good teams without him.

  • Statement

    Okay Okay,

    Raps W/L with Bargnani career

    175/223….what a hero.

    Bargnani career Wins Produced = -19.3

    again, what a hero.

  • HitItHardFromTheBack

    Smh at some of these cats on hurr makin this story bout Raps record with/without AB, when the title say it be about dam free throws, cmon dog some of yall strate wack for that ish……….. 9 days til the draft lottery, then we finally got some new shit to talk bout forreal.

  • Ecrapsfan

    An encouraging thing is he does this, and it’s clear he missing out on a few calls a game.  Eventually, I think that will stop.  The guy just plays the game in a way that facilitates getting to the line.  And for that matter, I guess Andrea does a pretty good job getting to the line too.  Bring in another player who can put pressure on Defense too, like a penetrating guard, and a Bouncy C that’s going to be a pest to the other team on the glass (Jonas) and when our front court (Jonas, Bargs) are pretty close to being knock down ft shooters – and that should really help. 

    • cesco

      More than a penetrating guard , we need one that can shoot the threes to keep the defense honest .

      • RaptorFan

         Bayless shot 42.3 percent from 3’s in 2011-12…..thats pretty good….and he can penetrate…. what else do we need from the guy???  We already have Jose….the raps have a past first pg and a guard that puts pressure on the defence….i hope they keep em both!  We need to focus on a dynamic scoring SF that can play defence…. I love James Johnson but i gotta admit he’d look pretty good coming off the bench next year….

        • Lorenzo

          Was there ever even a doubt that he’d be coming off the bench?

  • Theswirsky

    “can mask scoring inefficiency by pumping up PPG”

    There is some truth to that.  FTs are the single most efficient way to score.  An average possession retuns 1 pt.  The average FT is 2 attempts at 1 pt.  Even the worst FTs shoot around 50% (there are exceptions ofcourse) so even bad FT shooters will give you average efficiency.  Half decent FT shooters give you good efficiency. 

    On top of that you tend to get a free FG attempt (although not always) and opponents collect a foul, which is capped at 6, giving an opportunity to reduce his playing time, his aggressiveness or his ability to play at all (if fouled out)

    No attempts beats a  FT in terms of efficiency 

    So even if someone shoots an absolutely attrocious FG% (say 40%), getting to the FT line can easily make up for that.  BUT what ends up being important is how many FG they attempted to get those FTs.

    Which is why I find FTA vs FGM a bad stat to consider.

    If I take 10 fta but shoot 3 for 100  my FTA vs FGM = 3.3 (16pts on 105 possessions)   if someone else takes 2 FTA and shoots 10/10 their FTA vs FGM = 0.2 (22 pts on 11 possession  )

    Someone else is much much more efficient than I am.

    • 2damkule

      er…not sure where to start.

      your two examples are extreme outliers, neither of which would be possible over a large enough sample size to be significant.  no player who shoots 3% from the field is going to get enough PT to jack that many shots, and even if they do, they wouldn’t be producing at a high enough level to be anything other than a statistical oddity (as arse mentions, they would be cut out of the analysis).  further, no player is going to shoot 100% over a statistically significant sample size.  

      i’m not advocating using this stat for anything, as i don’t really think it tells much of a story…i mean, is it actually a good thing that howard attempts more FTs than he does FGs?  if i’m an opposing coach, isn’t that the strategy?  further, any list that excludes some of the games preeminent (and efficient) scorers has to be taken with at least a grain of salt.

      • Theswirsky

        my examples were extreme to make the pt obvious.  fta vs fgm does not = efficiency.  And efficiency (or the masking there of) was one of the issues Arse made reference to early in the post.

        By all means use myself who shoots 6/6 FTs and 6/15 fga vs someone else who shoots 2/2 fts and 4/6 fga attempts.  Same problem exists.

        me – 1.0 fta/fgm
        someone else – 0.5 fta/fgm

        so more efficient right?


        me 18 pts on 18 possession (or 1 pt per possession)

        someone else 10 pts on 7 possession (1.4 pts per possession)

        someone else is more efficient

        As for Howard that just shows how ridiculously efficient he is – opposing coaches would rather give him what is generally one of the most efficient uses of possessions because HIS average use of a possession is even more efficient. 

        “any list that excludes some of the games preeminent (and efficient) scorers has to be taken with at least a grain of salt.”

        well I’d argue that if someone isn’t on the list (of fta vs fga) they aren’t actually as efficient as we’d like to believe.  But regardless I don’t have that list nor do I want to make one.  Rather just pointing it out in regards to Arse’s stats.

        • Theswirsky

          realizing I read your 2nd paragraph wrong