Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw shooting has come under the microscope during the NBA playoffs. This is for a few reasons, with the most prominent one being he just hasn’t been particularly good at it. The two-time league MVP is at 53.5 percent from the charity stripe this postseason, and while he’s never been lights out from the line, this is still the worst he’s shot on free throws in his postseason career.
The other big reason: It takes Antetokounmpo a lot of time to get a free throw off, something that led to him getting hit for a 10-second violation during a crucial trip to the line against the Miami Heat.
It’s very rare that these get called, but Antetokounmpo does take his time getting free throws up, so this is, by the letter of the law, the correct call. It also led to opposing fans having some fun at his expense, something that was especially true during Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets. The team put up a clock on the video board to keep track of how long it took him to get free throws off, and according to Peter Botte of the New York Post, the NBA didn’t particularly like this.
An NBA source said the league ordered the Nets to cut out the gamesmanship tactic of a timer shown on the overhead scoreboard at Barclays Center during Game 1 of their playoff series against the Bucks whenever the two-time MVP was at the line. The league doesn’t advocate teams inciting the taunting of other players, the source added.
Instead, the Nets showed an inset video of longtime fan Mr. Whammy extending his arms forward and shaking his fingers at the Bucks star during his free-throw attempts during Monday’s blowout Game 2 victory.
While it is very understandable that the NBA does not want teams openly prodding opposing players, credit where it’s due: this is a good bit of banter by the Nets. Then again, they won Game 1 by eight points and Game 2 by 39, so maybe they should keep rolling with Mr. Whammy.