FT shooting = Best shooting parameter
First, I'd like to say that I don't think that JUST free throw shooting shows who is the best shooter, but that there is a positive correlation (and a strong one) between being a good shooter and a good FT% shooter.
If you get any season and rank the best shooters from mid-range/3point range and match with a popular ranking of the best shooters for the media/fans, you'll get like the same 15 of 20 players every time
Now, look at FT%. They're there. There is a reason why Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki
Of course there are some outlyers and things to consider, but all in all, it's a good method that you can trust at a 85% rate or something like that
Just look at the 25 best free throw shooters from the 2010-11 season, all better than 85% FT shooting
1 Stephen Curry , GSW
2 Chauncey Billups , NYK-DEN
3 Steve Nash , PHX
4 D.J. Augustin , CHA
5 Jodie Meeks , PHI
6 Randy Foye , LAC
7 Dirk Nowitzki , DAL
8 Kevin Martin , HOU
9 Ray Allen , BOS
10 Kevin Durant , OKC
11 Chris Paul , NOH
12 Darren Collison , IND
12 Manu Ginobili , SAS
14 Rodney Stuckey , DET
15 Beno Udrih , SAC
16 Rudy Fernandez , POR
16 George Hill , SAS
18 Danilo Gallinari , DEN-NYK
18 Kevin Garnett , BOS
20 Paul Pierce , BOS
21 Derrick Rose , CHI
22 Jamal Crawford , ATL
23 Andre Miller , POR
23 Mo Williams , LAC-CLE
25 Ben Gordon , DET
Those are most of the guys you'd pick, even though free throw shooting is NOTHING like shooting with a defense set and the game in motion. Ray Allen, Dirk, Durant, Nash, Ben Gordon, Ginobili, Kevin martin, Billups, Kevin Love...all the best shooters we can think of right now.
You know who are the guys at the bottom of that list (only shooting guys, mostly guards)? JR Smith at 106, Iguodala at 121, Beasley at 95, Tony allen at 96, Wade at 91...guys you prefer doin' other stuff like driving to the lane or defending, not shooting (sometimes, NEVER shooting if they're not hot)
Now let's look at the stars. Lebron, criticized for being a poor shooter, is nowhere near the 85% margin - he was a 76% free throw shooter. Kinda fits.
Kobe Bryant was a 83% FT shooter, number 43 in the list. One hell of a shooter, that gets criticized a lot for his FG%, but people forget how many difficult shots he takes (even though some of those shots he does because he wants to, not because he has to). When you take all the ego thing and the hero ball, you see he's an elite shooter.
The last one - Isiah Thomas. A great slasher and fantastic player, he was never seen as a great shooter. Poor FG% even with stars in his team, really poor 3pt shooting...does that reflects in the FT shooting, the easiest shot you can get?
The answer is yes. Career 75% shooter like Lebron.
All in all, I've looked up more than 30 seasons, and I've never found a guy that efficiently shot great from the FT line be a poor or just mediocre shooter. Sure, a guy can be great for one or two seasons, but eventually the truth comes up.
What do you guys think? Can you sense a shooter from his FT%?
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