Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo are perennial All-Stars with the latter on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory. However, both are poor free-throw shooters, a shortcoming that has come into greater focus throughout this year’s NBA playoffs. Simmons has shot a dismal 13-of-38 from the line this postseason (if you don’t have a calculator handy that’s 34.2 percent) including 3-of-10 in Sunday’s Game 1 loss to Atlanta. Giannis, meanwhile, has converted just two of his 10 free-throw tries in the Eastern Conference semis.
The Wizards employed the “Hack-a-Shaq” technique on Simmons in the previous series, a conundrum that put 76ers coach Doc Rivers between a rock and a hard place. Obviously, his defensive presence would be sorely missed if Rivers benched Simmons during crunch time, but his catastrophic struggles from the line make him a liability on the other end.
With Antetokounmpo having another dreadful night from the charity stripe in Monday night’s loss to Brooklyn (2-for-7), The Dan Le Batard Show posed an interesting hypothetical, asking fans who they’d trust—Giannis or Simmons—if their life depended on one free throw.
As you might expect, the prompt elicited its share of snarky responses with commenters not exuding much faith in either player.
The Twitter peanut gallery also made sure to drag Giannis for his glacial pace at the line, often letting 10 or more seconds elapse between shots.
Free-throw shooting is obviously just one facet of a complex game, but it was certainly a determining factor in Philadelphia's four-point defeat Sunday at Wells Fargo. While the Sixers cashed in on just 68.6 percent of their attempts in Game 1 (with Simmons accounting for seven of their 11 misses), the Hawks were nearly perfect from the line, sinking 20-of-21 overall (95.2 percent).