Malcolm Brogdon Rarely Misses

Malcolm Brogdon missed a free throw on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, and normally a guy missing a free throw is not much of a story, but normally a guy is not on pace for the greatest free throw shooting season in NBA (throw ABA in there too) history in terms of accuracy.

Brogdon is not normal. Even with that miss, he is a close second on the all-time list, at 97.67 percent (we are close enough to get into hundredths of a percent here). Jose Calderon, the all-time leader, missed three free throws a decade ago while getting to the line at a similar rate, so Brogdon probably has one more miss in him (but no more) in order to break the record.

Single Season All-Time NBA Free Throw Accuracy Leaders
1. Jose Calderon — 98.05 percent — 2008–09
2. Malcolm Brogdon — 97.67 percent — 2018–19
3. Calvin Murphy — 95.81 percent — 1980–81
4. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf — 95.63 percent — 1993–94
5. Ray Allen — 95.18 percent — 2008–09

For Brogdon though, this is more than a bit of fun trivia.

The free throw shooting is great. He is a great bet to break the franchise best mark at the line, which Jack Sikma has held since 1987–88, if not the NBA record. More importantly though, it is representative of how Brogdon has sharpened nearly aspect of his game, a game long considered polished already.

A second round pick a few years ago, and a guy who had only been an occasional starter in his first couple years in the league, he is a now a fixture in the starting lineup for a team with the second-best record (and by far the best point differential) in the NBA. His shot chart exemplifies the efficient types of shots the Bucks want to take.

On his next shot after missing the aforementioned free throw in Atlanta, about a minute later, Brogdon did not look shook.

On these three-point-happy Bucks — they still rank second in the league in threes made per game behind only the Rockets — it is Brogdon who has been their most efficient (43.0 percent) and consistent shooter from long range.

He does not take them in bunches, but he makes them count. Fittingly, his season-high in attempts is just six, yet he made all six. Last season, more than a quarter of his triples were unassisted. This season, just 8.1 percent of his threes have been unassisted. At once he is a beneficiary of a newly-functional offense that creates open looks, as well as a leading reason why the Bucks are able to effectively spread the court in the first place.

For all of the (rightful) talk about three-point shooting, the Bucks are also(by far) the best two-point shooting team in the NBA.

Two-Point Field Goal Percentage — 2018/19
1. Bucks — 57.5 percent
2. Raptors — 55.1 percent
3. Warriors — 54.6 percent
4. Rockets — 54.6 percent
5. Wizards — 54.0 percent

Take a look at the four Bucks from this team who are on the top-seven here.

Two-Point Field Goal Percentage — Single Season — Bucks History
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo — 64.7 percent — 2018/19
2. Eric Bledsoe — 59.0 percent — 2018/19
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — 57.7 percent — 1970/71
4. Bob Lanier — 57.5 percent — 1983/84
5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — 57.4 percent — 1972/73
6. Brook Lopez — 57.4 percent — 2018/19
7. Malcolm Brogdon — 56.7 percent — 2018/19

After Giannis, the guy who shoots within three feet of the hoop most often on the team is Brogdon. Yes, he was a second round pick, but he is also not exactly the plucky underdog out there. He is quick, strong, and smart. He understands angles, both in terms of the geometry of defenders and the court as well as how to use the backboard. How many times have you seen this?

Or this?

Brogdon is taking significantly more shots at the rim this season than in his first couple years, and he is making more than ever. Take out centers from the true shooting percentage leaderboard, and Brogdon ranks sixth in the NBA, just ahead of Giannis, the product of a comfortably 50/40/90 (52/42/97) line.

As a rookie, Brogdon did not attempt a single free throw in 183 minutes in his first playoff series. After suffering a back injury that spring, he could not quite seem to turn the corner. Well, he has.