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BBR Mailbag: Highest Percentage of Career Points From Free Throws

Posted by Neil Paine on November 5, 2010

Today's mailbag question comes in from my friend Jake, a Duke fan:

"Do you happen to know which players have the highest % of their career points coming from free throws? My friend and I were discussing where Corey Maggette would fall on that list."

Minimum 7,500 career points, here are all-time NBA players who had the highest percentage of their points come from the charity stripe:

Player Career Pts Career FT Pct from FT
Harry Gallatin 8409 3103 36.9%
Dolph Schayes 18438 6712 36.4%
Corey Maggette 11893 4156 34.9%
Cedric Maxwell 10465 3598 34.4%
Neil Johnston 10023 3417 34.1%
Ed Macauley 11234 3750 33.4%
Larry Foust 11198 3570 31.9%
Danny Schayes 8780 2788 31.8%
Moses Malone 27409 8531 31.1%
Paul Arizin 16266 5010 30.8%
Mark Olberding 8145 2492 30.6%
Lenny Wilkens 17772 5394 30.4%
Andrei Kirilenko 7711 2327 30.2%
Sidney Moncrief 11931 3587 30.1%
Kevin Johnson 13127 3943 30.0%
George Mikan 8458 2536 30.0%
Dwight Howard 8598 2555 29.7%
Bob Pettit 20880 6182 29.6%
Frank Ramsey 8378 2480 29.6%
George Yardley 9063 2677 29.5%
Vern Mikkelsen 10063 2969 29.5%
Richie Guerin 14676 4328 29.5%
Adrian Dantley 23177 6832 29.5%
Antonio Davis 9041 2665 29.5%
Chris Bosh 10340 3016 29.2%
David Robinson 20790 6035 29.0%
Dave Gambee 7935 2295 28.9%
Dikembe Mutombo 11729 3391 28.9%
Oscar Robertson 26710 7694 28.8%
Rudy LaRusso 11507 3303 28.7%

Also, for fun, here are the players with the lowest percentage of their scoring coming from free throws:

Player Career Pts Career FT Pct from FT
Wesley Person 8192 786 9.6%
Dell Curry 12670 1245 9.8%
Mookie Blaylock 11962 1269 10.6%
Chuck Person 13858 1486 10.7%
Anthony Peeler 8017 875 10.9%
Jason Williams 8212 898 10.9%
Darrell Griffith 12391 1387 11.2%
Calbert Cheaney 7826 890 11.4%
Ken Norman 8717 1012 11.6%
Dennis Scott 8094 956 11.8%
Lindsey Hunter 7956 941 11.8%
Bingo Smith 10882 1307 12.0%
Rory Sparrow 7557 928 12.3%
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf 8553 1051 12.3%
Norm Nixon 12065 1527 12.7%
Quentin Richardson 7581 964 12.7%
Jon McGlocklin 9169 1167 12.7%
Scott Wedman 11916 1526 12.8%
Harvey Grant 7781 1026 13.2%
Antoine Walker 15647 2091 13.4%
Mike Miller 9448 1267 13.4%
Terry Tyler 8868 1196 13.5%
Fred Brown 14018 1896 13.5%
Brian Winters 10537 1443 13.7%
Olden Polynice 8265 1146 13.9%
Dale Ellis 19004 2639 13.9%
Robert Reid 10448 1459 14.0%
Shawn Marion 14190 1982 14.0%
Danny Ainge 11964 1676 14.0%
Dana Barros 8901 1249 14.0%

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12 Responses to “BBR Mailbag: Highest Percentage of Career Points From Free Throws”

  1. Stuart Chuang Matthews Says:

    Yep, I heard them mention this during the Milwaukee/Boston game the other night. Cool stat.

  2. Chris Says:

    The most surprising thing about this list for me is how high Dwight Howard ranks, given how poorly he shoots free throws. And KJ and Lenny Wilkens being so high as point guards.

  3. Dave Says:

    The Dwight Result is Because he shoots FT so bad. When he is good for the 2 pts with a dunk inside etc, why not make him earn them?

    Some people might (also) point to the fact that Dwight (Still) doesn't have a quality post move so he misses out on those points... Big men of the quality DHow aspires to be shoot the ball more ... Actually this seems like a big factor.

    Nobody shoots as many FTA whilst making as few FGA.

    This: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=KppR6 is a search of the only 75 player seasons where people have attempted between 10 and 15 FGA and at least 8 FTA per game. Almost all of the players are closer to shooting twice as many FGA as FTA - and if you sort by FT% you will see a post prime Shaq and Post Prime Wilt both Notiorus FT shooters who didn't really need to develop weapons like the hook shot or a jumper. In their prime both these players were capable of getting many many more FGA per game.

    John Drew is a name that comes up that I know little about - is his game comparable to Howard's?

    You will see Magette is also on the list - but is also able to generate more FGA.

  4. Neil Paine Says:

    Drew was a guard-forward who had a knack for making plays around the basket:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=3874

    He was a crazy good at drawing fouls and even better at grabbing offensive boards. Tremendous talent, tragic story, like many players in the late 70s/early 80s.

  5. taheati Says:

    /offtopic

    Is there a link to your uniform number database from any of the regular features on this site?

  6. Jeff James Says:

    @5

    Frivolities section, Uniform Numbers on the home page

  7. Todd Says:

    Was sure Adrian Dantley would have appeared higher on this list.

  8. taheati Says:

    #6

    Thanks. Didn't notice it b4 (below the "fold" on my screen; not on menu bar).

  9. Ezra Says:

    I notice there's a preponderance of extremely ancient players at the top of that list. 6 out of the top 10 appear to be players who peaked before 1960. You ought to recenter it for each year, so that we can compare players' percentage of points from free throws relative to the average for that year, or, if using career numbers, relative to the average of the seasons in which they played.

  10. taheati Says:

    I notice there's a preponderance of extremely ancient players at the top of that list. 6 out of the top 10 appear to be players who peaked before 1960.

    I noticed that too. Part of it could be rules-related. Example. According to NBA.com, the 5th-team-foul rule wasn't implemented until 1972-73.

  11. taheati Says:

    "I noticed that too" -> (didn't specifically notice or realize pre-1960 era, did notice unfamiliar names)

  12. Jason J Says:

    Surprised to see Marion on the 2nd list. Athlete on lots of uptempo teams who actually played a significant amount of time at the 4... I guess it's all those corner 3s.