The free throw line is a difference-maker for the Indiana Pacers

Domantas Sabonis (Photo by Leon Halip/Leon Halip)
Domantas Sabonis (Photo by Leon Halip/Leon Halip) /

A lot of Indiana Pacers fans will argue that the Pacers are not on the favorable end of whistles on a nightly basis. While that is true on most occasions, it is also important to note that fandom most certainly plays a part in that perception. Officiating will always be criticized, especially when your team is losing as a result of impactful calls.

There have been some interesting calls against the Pacers that have resulted in flagrant fouls but I have not necessarily had much of an issue with those in particular. In defense of the referees, I do believe they have called flagrant fouls pretty consistently in Pacers games thus far. But the charity stripe is a major factor for the Pacers moving forward.

The Indiana Pacers should make an effort to get to the foul line

I understand that Domantas Sabonis has been on the receiving end of some questionable officiating and he has probably deserved a lot more free throw attempts than his numbers show so far this season. But the rest of Indiana’s rotation needs to follow Domas in seeking contact near the rim.

The Pacers currently rank 13th in the NBA as they connect on 78.2 percent of their free throws. Unfortunately, they are only getting to the line 20.5 times per game, good for just 25th in the league.  Indiana’s opponents are getting to the line 22.8 times per game.

There are a lot of Pacers currently shooting at a high clip from the line but they are not getting enough attempts to change the game.

Five of the Pacers’ core rotation – Jeremy Lamb, Malcolm Brogdon, Doug McDermott, Justin Holiday, and Edmond Sumner – are currently shooting about 80 percent from the charity stripe. If Jeremy Lamb qualified, his free throw success rate (95.1 percent) would rank second in the entire NBA.

Myles Turner is hovering around 79 percent which is excellent for a defensive-minded center that does not get a ton of shots on a nightly basis. Caris LeVert is also very close to that 80 percent threshold.

The Pacers clearly have plenty of guys who can do some damage from the foul line, they just lack the ability – and the consistent calls – to let that be an advantage for them. Whether that change comes this season or is a focal point of the roster-building for 2021-22, the Pacers need to implement this into their plans.

When fouls aren’t going your way, it is understandably frustrating. Sabonis is constantly battling big bodies down low without selling the contact like other stars in the league, so calls aren’t coming in his favor. As much as fans hate flopping, it can be a very useful tool if contact is not being called.

Next. Moses Moody is the perfect prospect for the Pacers. dark