One of the more humiliating things that can happen to an NBA player is throwing a free throw air ball. Elfrid Payton, the Orlando Magic rookie who has been picking up a lot of compliments this season, managed to do it twice in a row.
Payton wasn’t a very good free throw shooter in college, hitting just 61.1% of his shots throughout his career with Louisiana-Lafayette, but he’s been awful so far in the NBA, making only 45% of his free throw attempts.
It’s not hurting the Magic that much, as he averages 2.9 trips to the line per game, but whenever you have a player the opponent isn’t afraid of sending to the line, it’s a problem. We wrote about Payton as having the potential to be a Rajon Rondo type player due to his flashiness and ability to put up nice assist and rebound numbers. Free throw shooting is part of the deal, with Rondo being one of the worst at it, not just this season but all-time among point guards.
Payton was especially awful in the 28-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, hitting only 2-of-9 shots from the line. Overall, he’s averaging 6.7 points per game this season with 5 assists and 3.4 rebounds a night.