If you hadn’t heard before, by now you likely have: Corey Maggette can get to the free throw line.
It’s why he was brought to Milwaukee and why he’ll likely be used in heavy doses all year long. At least until he breaks down from the heavy contact he’s sure to encounter repeatedly every game. So long as he’s healthy though, he could really do some amazing things with regards to getting to the free throw line. His remarkable free throw performance Friday got me to wondering about just how many attempts he’d have this year.
Specifically, I was wondering if Maggette could set the Bucks single season record for free throw attempts. I mean, he seems certain to flirt with the most attempts in a game by a Buck (25 by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and most makes (21 by Flynn Robinson). Maybe he won’t break those records, but he could give them a run. Could he give the big one a run?
Obviously Maggette isn’t going to shoot 20 free throws every game, but now I’m not going to dismiss the idea that he could average 10 free throws per game so long as he averages 30 minutes per game. I scoured the Bucks record books and put together a list of the 15 highest single season free throw attempts totals.
|Kareem Abdul Jabbar||743||485||0.653||1969-70||82|
|Kareem Abdul Jabbar||732||504||0.689||1971-72||81|
|Kareem Abdul Jabbar||681||470||0.690||1970-71||82|
It’s no surprise that Kareem rule the roost. He’s a center, possibly the greatest one of all time and the league didn’t really know what to do about him when he stepped on the court. His record of 743 seems like a task that may be too tall for Maggette though, for a couple of reasons.
- How many games can Maggette get in?
The knock on Maggette has always been his durability (along with a certain penchant for shooting rather than passing, no matter what) for good reason. He’s never played 82 games and only made it to 70 on five occasions. If Maggette plays 70 games this season, he would need to average 10.6 free throw attempts per game to tie Kareem. That would be a career high for Maggette who, over his last five seasons, has averaged between 9.4 and 9.9 free throws per 36 minutes. If he somehow manages to play 82 games, Maggette would need to average 9.1 free throws to best Kareem. 9.1 free throw attempts a night doesn’t seem as out of the question as 82 games played does when it comes to Corey Maggette.
- Will the minutes be there?
Kareem never had to worry himself with his minutes as a member of the Bucks. In his six seasons in the green, Abdul-Jabbar never averaged less than 40 minutes per game and topped out at 44.2 in 1971-72. In his record setting rookie season, he averaged 43.1 minutes. Maggette has never been so blessed with court time. His career high in minutes per game was 36.9 with the 2004-05 Clippers and that seems out of the question for him this coming season. The only Bucks player to average over 33 minutes per game last season was John Salmons in his 30 game stint, and that was for a team desperate for wing scoring and creation.
The Bucks added depth this season should limit everyone’s minutes to less than 35 per game, Maggette included. Averaging 10 free throws a night in less than 35 minutes would truly be one of the NBA’s greatest feats in Maggette could pull it off. Last season, the only players to average 10 free throws per game were Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Lebron James. Both Durant and James needed 39 minutes per game to pull it off and Howard’s numbers piled up thanks to his general awkwardness at the line.
Kareem’s 743 free throws seem a little out of reach for Maggette as we get ready to set sail on this new season, but he could slide in right behind the legendary center, who holds the top three spots on the free throw attempt list.
Sidney Moncrief has the highest free throw totals for every Buck not named Abdul-Jabbar with 624 attempts in the 1983-84 season. If Maggette played 82 games, he’d need just 7.6 free throw attempts per game to match Moncrief. Maggette seems to attempt five free throws as he approaches the scorers table to check in, so 7.6 seems well within reach. If he only plays in 70 games, Maggette will need to average a more difficult 8.9 free throws, but that still seems doable.
Setting the Bucks free throw attempt record seems like a long shot for Maggette, but so did shooting 20 free throws in 14 minutes in his only pre-season game. Who’s to say what kind of crazy numbers Maggette is capable of putting up in Scott Skiles system. I’d bet against him breaking the single season record, but a place above all players not named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar seems within reach.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan of Bucksketball on Facebook (to the right).