Some of the easiest points in an NBA game are scored at the free throw line. In a league that has steadily turned to the make-or-break nature of 3-point shooting on most nights, getting to the charity stripe is a useful way to counteract the variance of perimeter shooting while also allowing players some rest and defenses to get set.
Yet, as the Celtics have steadily risen through the ranks of offensive efficiency over the past few months, the one area where they have shown little growth is getting to the charity stripe. They still rank 27th overall in the NBA in free throws taken per field goals attempted and have routinely stayed among the bottom five teams in that area over the past two seasons.
The fact Boston has managed to have the best offense in the NBA over the past 20 games despite underperforming in such a critical path to scoring points, on the surface, looks encouraging. There is room for improvement there, so that’s just another reason why the Celtics’ offense will rise up the ranks, right? However, after I asked that question to Brad Stevens on Sunday, he shared some surprising thoughts on his philosophy about getting to the line.