The Mavericks have the NBA’s third-worst free-throw-attempt rate, which is free throws attempts per field-goal attempt.
Is that because they’re a jump-shooting team?
Is that because they shy away from contact?
Or is that because the referees are out to get them?
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:
“There’s a lot of reasons, none of which I can talk about,” Cuban said. “Monta Ellis [is] getting crushed all the time. We go to the rim. Monta leads the league in attacks of the rim, and Monta didn’t go to the line that much. It’s not like we’re settling for jumpers. It’s just not going our way.”Asked how he could fix the problem, Cuban said: “I have a lot of ideas, but I’ll wait until February before I get fined for them.”
Cuban has a point about Ellis.
Ellis leads the NBA with 277 drives, defined as “any touch that starts at least 20 feet of the hoop and is dribbled within 10 feet of the hoop and excludes fast breaks.” But he falls well behind the two players right behind him on the drive leaderboard – Jeff Teague and and Ty Lawson – in free-throw-attempt rate.
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But cherry-picking Ellis doesn’t justify a team-wide complaint.
Although Ellis drives a lot, Dallas doesn’t. The Mavericks rank 10th in total drives, but they’re as close to 18th place as they are ninth place. They’re solidly middle of the road.
Besides, drives and fouls drawn shouldn’t correspond perfect, anyway. Those are not one in the same, so it’s not necessarily problematic that Dallas is near average in drives and below average in free-throw attempts.
Are the Mavericks getting a fair shake on calls? Maybe, maybe not. But counting Monta Ellis’ drives to the rim is not enough to build a case.