4. The Toronto Raptors are afraid of going to the free-throw line
It is embarrassing how little the Raptors have gotten to the line. They are ranked dead last in the league with an attempted 13.5 free throws per game. There are multiple reasons for this, and the first reason starts with their unwillingness to go to the rim.
Let’s rewind to last season when they were the second-best team in the league. The Raptors were ranked sixth in the league for the frequency of their shots coming from three and they ranked third for the frequency of shots taken at the rim. That added up to the third-best location effective field goal rate at 54.8 percent. This season, they still rank highly in the rate of threes taken; but they have fallen to 24th in the frequency of shots taken at the rim.
Going to the rim is where the majority of free-throws are given. The Raptors have to be more willing to either go score at the rim or draw contact when at the rim.
This all has to start with the Raptors’ all-star, Pascal Siakam. He is elite around the rim and is capable of going to the free-throw line at will if he really wanted to. Siakam has been playing a lot more around the perimeter and the post so far, and that’s a reason he’s only gone to the line 6 times.
Although seeing Siakam doing a bit of everything is encouraging, going to the free-throw line should be a priority. That’s one area of improvement he has yet to show, and one area the Raptors desperately need him to be active in for the team to find better success. If the Raptors can at least be a middle of the pack team in free-throw attempts, this helps their chances of winning that much more.