The OKC Thunder are still young, and young teams tend to foul a lot; this is a particular concern that Mark Daigneault and the assistant coaches need to address during film study. This issue was on full display against the Sixers on Saturday; let’s look into some statistics below:
Philadelphia shot 45 free throws — this number was inflated just a bit due to fouling at the end — this is one of six instances where a team has hit 40 or more free throws this season, and the Sixers have done it three times, teams are 6-0 in those contests.
Oklahoma City committed 27 fouls, and eight of those fouls occurred with ten or fewer seconds remaining, meaning the OKC Thunder worked so hard to play solid defense, only to send Philly to the line anyway.
This problem is not isolated to this one game; the OKC Thunder average 19.6 fouls per game, which is in the middle tied for 15th. That said, they rank in the bottom 10 in the opponent’s free throw attempts at 24.4 per game, tied for 25th.
These are issues that can be corrected. These are not officially bad habits, but they must be updated sooner rather than later.
On the flip side, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got to the line ten games in this game matching his season average from last season. While the whistle is slowly returning for the OKC Thunder star, it is head scratching how Gilgeous-Alexander only earned 10 attempts, while his superstar counterpart Joel Embiid was gifted 21 tries from the Charity Stripe.