Chris Paul is a career 87% shooter from the free-throw line. He’s one of the greatest free-throw shooters of all time. Last season, he lead the league in free throw percentage with 94.4%. He’s also averaging 97.1% from the free-throw line in the 2022 NBA playoffs. In an interview with Mark Cuban, Chris Paul reveals that Dirk Nowitzki helped him to get there.
Paul’s Phoenix Suns had the best record in the regular season. With 64 wins they broke a franchise record. However, the wins have not been coming easy for them in the playoff. They are currently playing the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semi-finals with the series 3-3 at the moment. Game 7 is a do-or-die situation and losing that will cause great embarrassment for the Suns.
Dirk Nowitzki’s influence on Chris Paul
Dirk Nowitzki came into the league in the 1998-99 NBA season. He was drafted by the Mavericks 9th overall and spent 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk revived a dying franchise and gave them their first NBA title and MVP.
Nowitzki currently sits 16th on the NBA all-time scoring list and is 7th all-time in total free throws made. He finished his career with an 88% free throw shooting percentage. To say that he was the greatest big-man shooter in the league would not be an understatement.
“Around then I was 16 years old…I loved everything, Dirk…I used to turn my feet in on my free throws. Remember when Dirk used to shoot free throws like that? I used to do that for a little while, just so I could shoot like Dirk.”
Chris Paul believes that Dirk helps mold Chris Paul into the elite free throw shooter he is just by playing his own game. These 2 have played each other a lot throughout their career. They’ve played each other 42 times in their career.
In those 42 games, Chris Paul averaged 20 points, 8.8 assists, and 4.6 rebounds on 89% from the free-throw line. Whereas Dirk averaged 19.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2 assists on 84% shooting from the charity strike. Paul could go on to win his first title this season but in the long haul, these 2 players match up well.
Can Chris Paul rally his Suns in game 7 to get back to the conference finals? Or will he continue his career without the taste of an NBA championship?