Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Detroit Pistons Free Throws Are Just A Mystery

Cade Cunningham should be getting the Detroit Pistons many free throws but he is not.

The lack of Detroit Pistons free throws has been a major hindrance team’s progression. Ultimately, it is tough to win games when there are minimal free looks from the line. The Pistons are a young team but they have plenty of bigs and tough guards. They should be getting to the free throw line much more.

Detroit Pistons Inability to Get to the Free Throw Line

A Reoccurring Theme

Another disappointing result came for Detroit this weekend.  Cade Cunningham had 21 points and tied the game with 12.4 seconds on the clock, only shortly before Paolo Banchero hit a deadly game-winner with less than a second of play. The lack of Detroit Pistons free throws, and officiating throughout the game have left Detroit fans extremely frustrated.

The difficulty Detroit had getting to the free throw line stood out tremendously. In this particular game, Detroit had a mere 13 attempts in comparison to Orlando’s 21. This has been the theme for the majority of the season, and they now sit 18th in the league, holding a 21.9 PPG average.

Out of the Pistons’ starters, Jalen Duren was the only player to make any free throw attempts. The rest of the attempts came from the bench. If we look at the Pistons’ season overall, they have not been on the right side of the whistle at all. They have been called for the most fouls in the NBA, however, they have struggled to get many calls in their favor.

Monty Williams‘ frustration was visible at the end of the game, and he verbally expressed this by saying:

“Even on the last bucket, how do you get to the basket like that and not draw contact?” Williams said.”There were a number of times that I thought (Cunningham) wasn’t trying to manipulate the contact. It was just contact. He’s not getting to the line. It’s frustrating because when I look at their free-throw numbers, Paolo has nine (attempts). Cade is a guy who attacks the basket,” said Williams.

Williams has been subject to a large amount of criticism when it comes to his decisions this season. More specifically, his decision to play with 12-13 players hasn’t been a popular one among Pistons fans. He did choose to use a 10-man team in the Magic game, but this may have been due to Marcus Sasser and Isaiah Stewart being out of action

Cade Cunningham’s Frustration With Officials

In Cade’s view, the lack of Detroit Pistons free throws has a lot to do with officiating. He is currently averaging a career-high 22.2 points per game and 7.4 assists. He is making huge strides in terms of development, but the Pistons’ poor form is only making it more difficult for him to reach his predicted potential.

After the Magic loss, he made his feelings extremely clear. Per James Edwards III of The Athletic, Cade said: “There’s a lot of things I want to say but I want to keep my money. I take pride in being a good basketball player. I don’t take pride in the fact that I can’t get to the line I’m trying to get there. I’m watching the stuff, trying to learn from it. I have to stop b***ng and crying. I feel like that’s making them not want to look out for me more. Don’t know what it is. Maybe I need to be nicer. Maybe I need to kiss someone’s a** . I don’t know what it is. I’m working on it,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham Should Live at the Line

What makes this even more confusing, is that Cunningham’s style of play really should convert into a high number of free throws. He is a physical player, with a strong, direct approach to the basket. Players with a similar style seem to have a lot more free throw attempts than Cade.

Even if we look back to his career-high night back in January 2021, where he scored an impressive 34 points. Out of those points, however, he did not score a single free throw.

This season, in particular, he has shown the multiple layers of his ability. We cannot ignore the fact that he missed the majority of last season, and his numbers are consistently improving. When he joined the league, he was shooting 32.4% from 3 in his first 24 games, and he has now upped this to 36% in his last 24. He has also lowered his turnover average from 4.1% to 2.8%.

Cunningham has scored 56 points in his last 61 minutes, and there has not been a free throw attempted in this time frame. Whilst this points to many questions about free throws, it also says a lot about Cunningham’s activity on the court away from the three throw line.

There is more than one reason as to why the Pistons are having such a difficult season, and there have been many issues over many years for Detroit. However, this is an area that cannot be overlooked if anything is to change. If there is going to be any overall improvement, getting to the free throw line would be a huge step in the right direction.


More Posts

Send Us A Message