The Worst Free-Throw Shooters in NBA History

Published on January 20, 2018
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Free throws are actually supposed to be quite simple, which is why most NBA athletes make 7 or 8 shots out of every 10 free-throw opportunities. There are many athletes who dominate at this, some even show off, scoring free throws with their eyes closed. And then, on the other hand, there are the atrocious players who couldn’t make a free-throw shot to save their life. Check out this list of the worst free throw shots in the history of the NBA.

Wilt Chamberlain

The 7 foot 1 inch former center position player is considered to be one of the greatest and most dominant players in the history of the NBA. Chamberlain also holds numerous NBA records in scoring, rebounding, and durability categories. However his biggest weakness was his notoriously poor free throw shooting, he has the third lowest career free throw percentage, with 51.1% (which is based on a minimum of 1,200 attempts). In fact, he set an NBA record for free throws missed in a game with 22 in 1967. A record that wasn’t broken until 2016.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain

Rajon Rondo

Rondo may be a four-time NBA All-Star, and a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team member, but when it comes to free throws, he’s burying his head in the sand. With only a career percentage of 60.5%, he’s got reason to fret.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

Kwame Brown

From 2001 to 2013, Brown dominated the court, he was the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards, and was the first number one draft pick to be selected straight out of high school. As impressive as that is, his free throw average in his career is that of 57%, could be worse. The reaction from the booth was always the same after he’d miss yet another free throw, “Kwame Brown! Are you kidding me? You’re better than that, Kwame.”

Kwame Brown

Kwame Brown

Greg “Cadillac” Anderson

Anderson was a 6′ 10″ power forward/center, he was selected 23rd overall by the San Antonio Spurs back in the 1987 NBA draft. After 13 years, Anderson went to Club Belgrano de San Nicolás in Argentina. Before he jetted off to sunny Argentina, he left us with his 55.7% free throw average, shocking.

Greg Anderson

Greg “Cadillac” Anderson

Emeka Okafor

Since 204, Okfar has played for the Charlotte Bobcats, the New Orleans Hornets, and the Washington Wizards. In 2004, Okafor was selected second overall in the draft, becoming the first ever draft pick by the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, that same day, he accepted the invitation to join the U.S. Olympic Team in Athens, finishing with a bronze medal. So you see, the kid can play which makes his 58.4% free throw career total laughable.

Emeka Okafor

Emeka Okafor

Elmore Smith

You remember Elmore Smith, nicknamed “Elmore the Rejector”, for his incredible shot-blocking. And if you remember, he was also a skilled rebounder, who also averaged a double-double over the course of his career. Making his 57.9% career average for free throws a head scratcher.

Elmore Smith

Elmore Smith

Dwight Howard

Howard decided at just nine years old that he was going to play in the NBA and that dream came true. He actually chose to forgo college and entered the 2004 NBA draft, he ended up being selected first overall by Orlando Magic. An eight-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA team selection, five-time All-Defensive member, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, the man is quickly making his way into the history books. Especially with his ability to laugh off his missed free throws. His career total so far is 56.8%, wonder where it’ll end up when he finally retires.

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

DeAndre Jordan

Since 2008, Jordan has been with the LA Clippers, with them he’s earned two-time All-NBA and two-time NBA All-Defensive Team member, and twice he led the league in rebounding. He is notoriously known for his horrific free throws, with just a career average of 42.1% so far.

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan

Dale Davis

With a career spanning from 1991 until 2007, Davis has accomplished so many things as a center and power forward.In 2000, he was named NBA All-Star and the No. 34 retired by Clemson. It’s his 56.2% career free throw percentage that is the most shocking. Chalk it up to needing anxiety treatment or whatever, but that average is simply crazy.

Dale Davis

Dale Davis

Chris Dudley

Dudley’s pro basketball career spanned 16 years and he played 886 games for five different teams. He’s well known for his defensive skill as a rebounder and shot blocker. In 1990, Dudley actually set an NBA record by missing 13 consecutive free throws. Before that in 1989, he set another record for most free throws missed in a single trip to the foul line, missing five consecutive free throws after the opposing team committed three lane violations.

Chris Dudley

Chris Dudley

Bo Outlaw

Outlaw is best remembered for his athleticism, unyielding defensive approach and sub-par free-throw shooting. In his 14 year career, his career free throw percentage is a whooping 52.1%, impressive? Nope.

Bo Outlaw

Bo Outlaw

Bill Russell

Russell is a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 12-time All-Star, he was also the centerpiece of Celtic dynasty, winning 11 NBA championships during his 13 year career. Russell is actually one of only seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic gold medal. I could make this list go on forever, the man’s a legend. But we all know he was a poor free throw shooter, with a percentage of just 56.1%.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell

Andris Biedrins

This Latvian baller was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th overall selection in 2004. He’s often been ridiculed for his poor free throw percentage, his career finish is just a mere 50%.

Andris Biedrin

Andris Biedrins

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq really needs no introduction, the man is well known in all spheres of the globe. We will tell you though that he ranks 7th all-time in points scored, 5th in field goals, 13th in rebounds, and 7th in blocks. He also ranks in his free throw average, but not in a good way. He has a career average of 52.7%. In fact in 2008, Shaq missed his 5,000th free throw, and became the second player in NBA history to do so. Quite often, the Hack-a-Shaq technique was used, where you just choose the weakest free-thrower on the court, foul them, and watch them miss over and over.

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

Andre Drummond

After Drummond was selected by Detroit in the first round with as the ninth overall pick, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team and was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in 2016. However, he will always be remembered for the night of January 20, 2016, where he set an NBA record for free throws missed in a game with 23, having surpassed the previous record of 22 set by Wilt Chamberlain on December 1, 1967. He also set a career-high and franchise record by attempting 36 free throws.

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond

Ben Wallace

Wallace, as you should know, is a 4× NBA All-Star, 4× NBA Defensive Player of the Year, in 2002 NBA blocks leader, 3× All-NBA Second Team and countless more achievements to his name. Here’s the thing though, he also holds the record for the worst free throw shooting percentage in NBA history, at under 42 percent (from a minimum 1,000 free-throw attempts).

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace