Best Active Free-Throw Shooters in the NBA

Oliver Thomas@OliverBThomasContributor IJanuary 21, 2012

Best Active Free-Throw Shooters in the NBA

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    Free throws are a crucial part of the game of basketball. Close games are often decided by who made their baskets at the charity stripe and who couldn't live up to the challenge.

    For some, a shot from the foul line is nearly automatic.

    Yet for others, an uncontested 15-footer is just a shot in the dark.

    During the 2009-2010 season, the Golden State Warriors' center Andris Biedrins shot a horrific 16 percent from the line.

    Luckily for him, the phrase "Hack-a-Andris" was not as catchy as "Hack-a-Shaq."

    Every team wants a player with proper shooting mechanics who can deliver what is thought to be the easiest shot in the game of basketball.

    Here are the best active free-throw shooters in the NBA.

5. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Kevin Durant is just 23 years old and is already one of the brightest stars in the NBA. At the lanky height of 6'9", Durant can do it all, even knock down free throws.

    "The Durantula" currently ranks 12th all time in free throw percentage at 88 percent.

    Reggie Miller is ranked ninth, just saying...

4. Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors

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    The Toronto Raptors' 30 year-old Spaniard holds one honor that the other four on this list don't.

    Jose Calderon is the record-holder for highest free throw percentage in a single season at 98.1 percent.

    That's right.

    During the 2008-2009 season, Calderon made an incredible, 151 out of 154 free throw attempts. When he was in his finest groove, the Raptors' point guard sunk 87 straight from the line.

    Some may find fault with the fact that Calderon only played in 68 of the 82 regular season games that year.

    Yet with a career free throw percentage of 87.7, it's fair to give Calderon the benefit of the doubt as a top-four foul shooter in the league.

3. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics

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    Ray Allen is the epitome of a pure shooter and has one of the prettiest strokes in the game.

    The Connecticut alum has already broken Reggie Miller's record for most career three-pointers and is still going strong.

    As a free throw shooter, he's not too shabby either.

    During the 2008-2009 season, Allen shot 95.18 percent from the stripe.

    Among active players, Allen is ranked third in career free throw percentage at 89.34 percent, which appropriately places him third on this list.

2. Chauncey Billups, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Chauncey Billups has played for seven different teams during his 14-year NBA career. Although he has bounced around of late, he remains as consistent as ever from the foul line.

    The former Colorado Buffalo ranks second in active players for career free throw percentage at 89.37 percent. Billups has managed to shoot over 90 percent from the stripe in five different seasons.

    Perhaps his consistency at the line helped earn him the nickname "Mr. Big Shot" back in his championship days with the Detroit Pistons.

    Either way, Billups is runner-up to only one man.

1. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

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    It's hard to recommend fouling this man.

    At age 37, Steve Nash is the active NBA leader in free throw percentage at 90.4 percent.

    Nash has made a staggering 2,830 out of 3,132 free throws during his NBA career.

    What's most impressive is that the Suns' franchise player has shot over 90 percent from the line in seven different seasons.

    The Canadian sensation has led the league twice in free throw percentage, justifying why he truly is the NBA's best free throw shooter.