As a fan of unusual events I’m both excited and fascinated by the career of Tyson Chandler.
Let me explain why…
he was drafted second overall… yet he played less than 25 minutes in each of first three seasons.
Obviously he came straight out from high-school which didn’t help but still it’s pretty unusual treatment of such high draft pick.
- he changed teams 5 times which is already well above average and he is 29 years old.
his toe was the main reason for a rescinded trade which is a very rare event in itself
[according to prosportstransactions.com there were only SEVEN of them!].
last year alone he was traded as a salary dump… and he was the key piece for a championship team.
Quite a rollercoaster ride, huh? And I can’t count how many times it happened but I’m pretty sure that’s not a typical way to acquire one of the best players on championship team.
most importantly [at least for this post], he did something which most big guys [or maybe even all people] can only dream about: he learnt how to shoot free throws very late into his playing career!
In his first 8 years Tyson Chandler attempted 1789 free throws and made 1071 of them for a 59.87% mark but in his ninth season he suddenly became 73+% shooter.And it wasn’t a fluke either, in all following seasons he made at least 73% of his freebies.
For the purpose of this post I’d like to focus on the last part and explore it: How often does such sudden improvement happen? Who did have the most impressive mid-career improvement in FT% in history?
Also you may not know this from this blog but I like playing basketball a lot and it’s the first topic which not only I can relate to personally but it also makes me appreciate it even more than just a curiosity because I feel like in terms of veteran’s basketball skills “you are who you are”.
Yet somehow at least one old dog learnt a new trick… maybe there is a light at the end of tunnel for all of us ;-)
OK, let’s start with basics, I downloaded a file from basketballreference.com with historical data and I compared FT% in every season after 5th [with minimum 150 free throw attempts] to Free Throw Percentage based on all combined makes and attempts at this point of player’s career. And here are the results…
|Player||year||Season||ftm||fta||FT%||to-date-FTM||to-date-FTA||to-date-FT%||Sudden jump by|
Obviously Tyson Chandler made a list, otherwise you wouldn’t read this post, but his improvement was far away from the most impressive one – this title probably should belong to Chris Webber who after six years of shooting at dreadful 54% made a jump to 75% and he even had some seasons close to 80%! Very nice Chris.
Dale Davis would be my clear number 2 in terms of most impressive improvement though he started at lower clip than Webber. Also last year’s backup to Tyson Chandler – Brendan Haywood – had a nice jump himself but it proved to be just a fluke year.
By the way, does anybody know how they did it?
Is there any coach who should get some deserved credit?
And just because I’ve checked and it works very nicely as a curiosity…
here’s a difference between the worst year and the best one [with minimum 150 FTA for both seasons]…
|Player||Best Year||ftm||fta||FT%||Worst Year||ftm||fta||FT%||Difference|
Seriously Wilt? 38%?
Plus we should mention that Karl Malone also made a significant improvement in this category but it happened in his third season which certainly helped to reach second best scoring mark of all-time.
Finally, there aren’t many guards on both lists… so tip your hat to Baron Davis for… I don’t know, lack of concentration in some years? ;-)