As I was perusing my RSS feeds this afternoon, I came across this article from basketball-reference.com. It examines the effectiveness of offenses featuring two perimeter players known for attacking the basket with great ferocity. Of course, this curiosity was inspired by the Miami Heat, but there was something else that caught my eye.
The article introduces (kinda) a statistic called Free-Throw Rating Index (FTRI), essentially a standardized number representing a players' ability to draw fouls on the shots he takes. When we restrict the search to only wing players (PG, SG, SF), we can get a pretty good idea of which perimeter players excel at getting to the rim. The stat is scaled so that 100 is league average. That is, players with a FTRI greater than 100 are more aggressive than average; those under 100 tend to take their shots from outside.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were 5th and 12th, respectively, with ratings of 122 and 117, respectively (There is no word that lends so much authority to a sentence as "respectively." It always makes the sentence better. Always.). Number one on the list? New Milwaukee-import Corey Maggette, with a FTRI of 134. That's incredible! I've already extolled the things Maggette brings to an offense, but the FTRI number is noteworthy because it puts Maggette's skills in context with the entire league. Even if Maggette's contract gets pretty bloated in the next few years, there is really nobody better equipped to fix the Bucks' free-throw disparity than him. It still remains to be seen how he will be used (Does Carlos Delfino's solid performance in the FIBA Worlds make him the starter?), but there's just no way Milwaukee doesn't improve in getting to the line with him on the roster.