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NBA: 10 Worst Free-Throw Shooters EVER

  • Free-Throws are supposed to be free points but not for these guys.
Yash Matange
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 15:21 IST

Ben Wallace and Shaquille O
Who's No. 1?

So it's called a FREE-THROW for a reason.

It's a free shot. No defense, nobody contesting the shot, no nothing. Yet, even the best of the best, historically, make 9 out of ten shots - Steve Nash is the league's all-time free-throw leader, with respect to efficiency at 90.43%.

Then, there's the other end of the spectrum. The players, mostly guys with no concrete standing shooting flow, who are among the worst ever. A majority of these players play the center position (normally around 7 feet), ones who have more or less cemented their career around the rim because of their height.

Los Angeles Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal is probably the most glamorous player in this bottom pile. Thus, the term Hack-A-Shaq came about, a strategy where teams fouled Shaq, once they were in the penalty, to ensure his team scores only point or even none instead of 2 or 3.

So much is being discussed right now about the game can be changed to make it better for everybody - with the shortening of the schedule, the possible 1-16 Playoffs format and so forth that people tend to forget how big a deal the intentional fouling had become, especially a couple of seasons ago.

Revisiting that issue, here are the 10 worst free-throw shooters in NBA history:

Honorable Mentions:

Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard

There are a few BIG names that just missed out on this list but are still among the league's worst, historically.

11-time Champion Bill Russell has the 14th worst free-throw shooting percentage (56.1%) in NBA history. Dwight Howard, at the 18th spot (56.6%), is the most documented active player on this list. Just above him are the likes of Mason Plumlee (17th - 56.5%) and Andrew Bogut (12th - 55.6%).


#10 Olden Polynice

Olden Polynice Kings
Olden Polynice

Career: 1146-2141 (53.5%)

Olden Polynice played a long 20 years in basketball, of which 14 were spent in the NBA. He played as a role player for five teams during this span - Seattle Supersonics, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, LA Clippers and the Detroit Pistons. Despite the years/teams ratio, Polynice has played 1,058 games, of which he started 658. The point being, he was more than relevant.

From his career numbers and game logs, it's quite obvious that Polynice's best days were when he was with the Kings from 1994 to 1998. He averaged 10.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in 345 games.

In different situations with different teams, Polynice's numbers varied but one thing from box score more or less remained the same - his free-throw shooting percentage. It varied from 29.0% for the Jazz (lowest for a team) to 60.2 for the Clippers (highest for a team). In terms of career-high for a season, Polynice's best came in his rookie year, where he shot 63.9% for the SuperSonics. However, it went all downhill from there.

In his last three full seasons, these were his free-throw shooting percentages - 30.9% (1998-99), 31.1% (1999-2000) and 26.2% (2000-2001).

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Published 31 Mar 2018, 17:45 IST
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