With only 2-years into the league, Zion Williamson has been to the free-throw line more than superstars such as Shaquille O’Neal and James Harden.
Probably the most hyped high school player since LeBron James. Zion Williamson is a physical specimen who has been a national sensation since his college basketball days at Duke.
According to several high-profile scouts, Zion was a force of nature and had the capability of being the most dominating player the NBA had ever seen. The 6’7″ forward had freakish athleticism and was known for shattering rims.
The 1st pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans. However, shooting and health were always a concern for the former ACC Athlete of The Year.
Though Zion’s ability to dominate in the paint was unquestionable, there has always been an asterisk on his ability to develop the jump shot and shoot from the free-throw line.
A recent stat shows that Zion has been sent to the free-throw line more frequently than any other player since 1999. The 2021 All-Star has beaten the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, James Harden, and Giannis Antentokounmpo.
Zion Williamson’s record no of visits to the free-throw line
According to estimates done by a Reddit user, Zion Williamson tops the list for the most no of trips to the free-throw line despite being only 2-years into the league.
The result is a list of all players that have drawn more than 83 shooting fouls since the 1999 season. The calculation is the total number of minutes that the players have played, ordered by a calculation of shooting fouls drawn per minute played.
In the 2694 minutes that Zion has played so far in the NBA, he’s been sent to the free-throw line 366 times with 0.136 fouls per minute. The Pelicans star is a career 68.3% from the free-throw line.
Lakers legend and 3x Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal has been to the free-throw line 3075 times with 0.115 fouls per minute. The 15x All-Star has played an impressive 26,638 minutes in his 19 seasons career. O’Neal is a dismal 52.7% from the foul line.
Former MVP and 3x scoring champion James Harden has been to the free-throw line 3134 times with 0.104 fouls per minute. The Nets star has played 30,198 minutes in his 12 seasons career. However, Harden is one of the most efficient shooters from the free-throw line. A career 85.8% from the line, the superstar definitely knows how to draw fouls and increase his PPG.
Zion needs to improve his free-throw shooting ability to be an overall player. As we have seen with the example of Ben Simmons in the last playoffs, how free-throws can make even the most talented player on the roaster a liability.