New Orleans Pelicans all-time leaders in free throws

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

In my opinion, one super obvious thing about basketball that people sometimes tend to overlook is that (generally speaking) the easiest/most efficient shot is not a 3-pointer or a layup. It’s a free throw.

It makes good sense when you think about it. In 2022-23, the league average on 3-pointers (per Cleaning the Glass) is about 36.5%. That means that the average three is worth about 1.10 PPP. The league average on shots at the rim is about 66.6%. That means that the average shot at the rim is worth 1.33 PPP. The league average on free throw attempts is about 78.2%. That means that the average trip to the charity stripe (two free throws) is worth about 1.56 PPP. Is the math making sense here?

The point here is that players who can create a lot of free throw attempts are immensely valuable. So, in continuing with the historical theme we have been going for on this website, we figured we’d take a look at who the New Orleans Pelicans (and Hornets) all-time leaders are in free throw attempts. We are going to focus on attempts over makes because we are more concerned with the number of free throws generated.

Now, without further ado, here are the Pelicans/Hornets’ all-time leaders in free throw attempts:

New Orleans Pelicans All-Time Leaders in Free Throw Attempts (numbers of free throw attempts)*

1. Anthony Davis (3234)

2. Chris Paul (2310)

3. David West (2030)

4. Brandon Ingram (1282)

5. Jrue Holiday (1214)

6. Zion Williamson (955)

7. Jamaal Magloire (915)

8. P.J. Brown (828)

9. Eric Gordon (768)

10. Tyreke Evans (752)

*Data Provided by Basketball Reference 

And once again, a historical Pelicans/Hornets list headlined by the two greatest players in franchise history: Chris Paul and Anthony Davis.

One thing that is insanely impressive is the fact that, despite all his injuries, Zion Williamson is already sixth all-time in franchise history in free throw attempts. His ability to bulldoze his way to the rim makes him a free-throw drawing jukebox, the likes of which we have seldom seen before. If he can just stay healthy, there is a real chance that tops both Paul and Davis on this list.

What may surprise some people is how high Brandon Ingram is on this list, given that he isn’t exactly the best at getting to the rim (his 4.3 shots at the rim per 75 possessions ranks in the 50th percentile, per Dunks & Threes). The reason he is able to generate so many free throws is that he’s mastered the Kobe Bryant/DeMar DeRozan midrange pump fake to help him draw more fouls.

Next. 5 Point Guards the Pelicans can target in Free Agency. dark