Friday Free Throws: A Weekly Look at the NBA (Jan. 2)

Ryan CallahanAnalyst IJanuary 2, 2009

Welcome to Friday Free Throws, my new weekly NBA article published every Friday.

Jose Calderon

One of the FFT's heroes, Calderon sunk two more free throws on Wednesday to increase his streak to 75 consecutive free throws made extending from last season. This season, he is 72 of 72 from the line. Calderon is also third in the league in assists averaging nine per game. Watch him tonight at home against the Houston Rockets as he puts his streak on the line.


MVP Watch 

Several players are putting up quality numbers to warrant MVP consideration at this point in the season.

  1. LeBron James (27.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.4 apg) - Has led Cleveland to a 26-5 start, second best to the Celtics, while being dominant on the offensive end.
  2. Dwight Howard (19.8 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 3,7 bpg) - Averaging a double-double and leading the Magic to 25-7 record. Leads the league in rebounds and blocks.
  3. Dwyane Wade (28.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.1 apg) - Even though he leads the NBA in scoring, the Heats' record of 17-13 drops him to number three on my list.

Right behind those three on my list are Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, and Dirk Nowitzki in no particular order.


Who's Hot 

The Atlanta Hawks are 9-1 in their last 10 games to improve their record to 21-10 and just 3.5 games back from the Magic in the Southeast standings. Their lone loss was to the Boston Celtics by three points. They have beaten Cleveland, Detroit, and Denver in the past 10 games. Joe Johnson is averaging 31 points the last three games.


Who's Not

The Sacramento Kings are 2-8 in their last 10. This was after they beat the Los Angeles Lakers. In the next 10 games the Kings' have lost to the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors. They were also blown out by 45 to the Boston Celtics at home.


Stat of the Week

The Los Angeles Clippers have the worst combined field goal percentage, making just 42.35 percent of their shots. The Philadelphia 76ers are the worst from behind the arc, making just 29 percent from long range.


The Big Men Free Throw Award Race

Historically, big men have been horrible free throw shooters. For example: Wilt Chamberlain, Ben Wallace, and Shaq. However these big men are lighting it up so far. The race is heating up, here are the standings. Note—you have to be at least 6'10" to qualify for the award.

  1. Dirk Nowitzki, 89.18% (173 of 194)
  2. Yao Ming, 88.43% (191 of 216)
  3. Charlie Villanueva, 87.32% (62 of 71)


Game To Watch

If your team is out of the NFL Playoffs there are two quality NBA matchups to watch this weekend. On Saturday, New Orleans travels to Denver to play at 9. Sunday night, Brandon Roy and the Portland Trailblazers travel south to Los Angeles to take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.


2006 Draft Bust of the Week

Many say it takes three years to truly tell if an NBA player will be a star player, role player, or bench player in the league. So every week I will check in our 2006 draftees to see how they are playing this season.

This week's winner - Adam Morrison of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Taken number three overall out of Gonzaga, in front of Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay, Adam Morrison has watched from the bench in three of his last five games. For the season, he is averaging five points a game and 1.8 rebounds a game in an average 16.3 minutes.

Congratulations Adam, keep up the good work!


Stephon Marbury to Boston? 

There are reports saying that if Stephon Marbury is able to successfully able to get out of his contract in New York (no guarantee there) that he would like to sign with the Boston Celtics and the Celtics are interested in signing him.

If this were to happen it would reunite Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury from their early playing days in Minnesota, until Marbury ruined that by forcing a trade to New Jersey.

If I were Boston, why mess with success? Marbury has not played in an NBA game in almost a year, and he has shown what a cancer he can be to a franchise with New York this season. He will probably not accept a secondary role very well, as he reportedly refused to come off the bench at the end of the game in New York.

The Celtics need size off the bench, but P.J. Brown recently retired and the ancient Dikembe Mutumbo signed with the Rockets this week. No deal will happen if Marbury is unable to negotiate a contract buyout with the Knicks, with talks so far going nowhere. Maybe he will feel a new sense of urgency now that he has a team waiting to sign him.


History in the Making

The Oklahoma City Thunder captured a rare victory on New Year's Eve with a seven-point win over the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder improved their record to 4-29, snapping a five game losing streak. Don't worry fans, they are still on pace for the worst record in NBA history.


Next Week: Most Improved Player Watch.

Ryan Callahan writes a 76ers blog at