2014 NBA Finals Preview: Free Throw Edition

nbafinalsmgn1image: deannbabets.wordpress.com. Isn’t it nice that we can reuse all the graphics from last year?

Tonight is the first night of the NBA Finals, with the Miami Heat facing off against the Spurs in San Antonio. There’s plenty to talk about, but since we’re all about free throws here, we’re going to be giving our free throw preview of the finals. Let’s go.

The Miami Heat have been all over the place on free throws. Lebron, for instance, is holding at a solid 75% free throw rate. Solid enough that people seem to not want to foul him so much: during the season, he once went two straight games without shooting a free throw. Dwayne Wade has also been strong from the free throw line this year, despite this video, leading some to question an analysis that (sadly) we bought into saying that free throws helped the Indiana Pacers to pick up a few games during the playoffs. Nevertheless, their performance last year was shaky, as Danny Martinez points out. With many expecting a strong offense, will they be able to hold up against possible fouls?

On a related note, watch this video explaining the probability of Lebron making ten free throws in a row.

San Antonio has also shown a wobbly free throw performance, but one that is improving overall. Tim Duncan used to suck at free throws, but he turned things around and by 2013 was shooting 82% from the free throw line. We noted Kevin Durant’s strong free throw shooting in OKC’s final game of the playoffs this year, but Duncan also held his own, shooting 75% or more regularly.

Overall, even though they have been shaky on free throws in the past, this year these are two strong teams that have proven that they can hold up on the free throw line. It looks like this is going to be a good finals series for free throws.