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Deandre Ayton is on pace to shatter a free throw record

Nov 15, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton (2) warms up before a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
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Starting the season with just seven free throw attempts in 12 games, former Suns center, and now with the Portland Trail Blazers, Deandre Ayton is, on the verge of setting a unique NBA record.

While it is still extremely early on in the season, if Ayton were to stay at the same pace that he is from the free throw line, he would become the first player in NBA history to average less than one free throw per game.

This was pointed out by @esidery.

Ayton’s inability to get to the free throw line, and more so, his lack of aggression, was one of the main reasons that the Suns moved on from their former 1st overall pick.

Now it appears that this trend is continuing, as Deandre Ayton has gone eight games already this season without a single trip to the line.

Given the popularity of today’s NBA style of play, this is almost impressive.

Remarkably, the Trail Blazers, partly due to Ayton’s contribution, are now averaging over four more free throw attempts per game compared to the previous season.

In contrast, the Suns, who were among the bottom five in the league last season, have surged into the top 10.

After 12 games, Ayton is averaging a mere 0.6 free throw attempts per game, placing him dead last in the league among centers who play at least 30 minutes.

On the flip side, the Suns’ new center, Jusuf Nurkic, is making a significant impact, averaging 3.9 free throw attempts per game and ranking 9th among centers in the league.

Despite the disagreements that arose when the Suns decided to part ways with Ayton, the early results suggest that it might have been the right call.

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