The Decade's Best: Free throws made from 2010 to 2020

Jul 13, 2020 by Print
The Decade's Best: Free throws made from 2010 to 2020

Making a free throw counts as just one point, but it is often a deciding factor in close games. If made, such free throws can easily lift teams to victories; even just one miss can send them to defeats. Apart from needing to remain calm in adrenaline-raising surroundings, making free throws in bunches is also closely related to the skill of first getting to the foul line. That is why the list of the most prolific free throw shooters is stacked with scoring guards who exploit their skill of getting past defenders and to the rim.

No player in competition history has made more free throws than Vassilis Spanoulis. His 1,093 converted foul shots make him the only player to break the 1,000 mark, and 848 of those came in the past decade. His volume of games played is a major factor but so is consistency in getting to the free throw line. No player has crafted that skill better than the Olympiacos Piraeus mastermind, a three-time EuroLeague champion and 2013 league MVP who made more free throws between 2010 and 2020 than any other player even attempted in the same time frame.

Current FC Barcelona forward Nikola Mirotic was wearing a Real Madrid uniform when he set an all-time EuroLeague record that we might never see broken. On March 7, 2013, in Rond 10 of the Top 16, Mirotic made 18 free throws from 18 attempts in a 104-105 overtime road win against Zalgiris Kaunas. In a packed Zalgirio Arena, Mirotic grabbed an offensive rebound and sank 2 free throws with 3.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 84-84 and send it to overtime. He made another pair of foul shots in the extra session to set a new EuroLeague record and help Real win the game. Two players made 16 free throws in a game during the past decade, with Montepaschi Siena's Bobby Brown having done so on 21 attempts in November 2012, setting an all-time record for chances at the line in one game.

Keith Langford set all kinds of marks when it comes to free-throw shooting and getting to the line during the 2016-17 campaign. Playing for UNICS Kazan, Langford converted 168 of his free throws over 28 games, for exactly 6.0 makes per game. That season, Langford also set single-season marks for the most free throws made (168), the most attempted (202) and the most fouls drawn (223). Moreover, those 6.0 free throws made per game is the highest average in the EuroLeague this century for a player appearing in more than 20 games.