Nikola Jokic Has Attempted Less Free Throws Than Joel Embiid This Season

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Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic Has Attempted Fewer Free Throws Than Joel Embiid This Season Despite Playing In Twice As Many Games

Denver Nuggets center and top MVP candidate Nikola Jokic has attempted fewer free throws this season than Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, despite playing in more than twice as many games as Embiid.

Through 74 games (all starts), Jokic has made 340 free throws on 413 attempts (82.3%). Meanwhile, Embiid has made 372 free throws on 420 attempts (88.6%) in just 36 games (all starts).

Although Jokic has played in 38 more games than Embiid, the Sixers’ big man has attempted seven more free throws than Jokic. It should be noted that Jokic has also attempted 1,334 field goals this season.

Referring to a couple of NBA betting sites, Jokic remains the front-runner to win his third MVP award. Sportsbooks are still showing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic in the top three.

In comparison, Embiid has attempted only 793 field goals. Jokic attempted 541 more shots, yet he has fewer free throws, despite suffering scratches and bruises nearly every game. What has caused this discrepancy?

Well, perhaps one could argue that Embiid is better at foul baiting defenders. Is it size-related? Embiid is 7-feet, 280 pounds, whereas Nikola is 6-foot-11, 284 pounds. Uh, that can’t be it.

Perhaps Jokic should attempt more mid-range shots instead of post-ups. On average, a 7-footer doing a pull-up jumper in today’s NBA has a higher free throw attempt rate than a big who posts up.

Nikola Jokic ranks 15th in free throws and 16th in attempts this season, while Joel Embiid is 10th and 13th

Regardless of why Embiid has attempted more free throws than Jokic, the 76ers’ center has scored 372 points this season from foul shots alone. The reigning MVP has notched 1,254 points through 36 contests.

Excluding free throws, that means Embiid has scored 882 points this season from jump shots, dunks, and layups. Jokic has put up 1,960 points and has made 340 free throws, a difference of 1,620 points.

Of course, Jokic has played in 38 more games than Embiid, so naturally he should have more points. But even though Embiid has missed 41 games, he still ranks 10th for made free throws and 13th for attempts this season.

While Jokic has missed only three games, the six-time All-Star sits 15th for made free throws and 16th for attempts overall. The difference is crazy. It reflects just how much the game has changed.

Prior to his injury, Embiid was averaging a career-high 38 points per 36 minutes. That’s the most points per 36 minutes in any NBA season in the shot clock era since 1954-55.

NBA Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain is second. At the age of 25, Chamberlain averaged 37.4 points per 36 minutes in 80 games played in 1961-62.

Furthermore, Jokic became the first NBA player since Oscar Robertson in the 1964-65 season to record at least 26 points, 18 rebounds, and 16 assists in a single game, during Sunday’s 130-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The two-time MVP ended his outing with 26 points, 18 rebounds, 16 assists, and a steal in 34 minutes of action. He finished 11-of-18 (61.1%) shooting from the field and 3-of-5 (60%) at the free throw line.

Nikola Jokic has 63 double-doubles and 24 triple-doubles this season. Jokic trails just Domantas Sabonis in double-doubles (73) and triple-doubles (26) this season. Joel Embiid has 27 double-doubles and two triple-doubles as well.