Jan 12, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) shoots a free throw against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
3. Get to the Free Throw Line (and Convert)
The simplest of basketball actions usually determines which teams advance and which teams go home.
The Pelicans made 75.1% of their free throws during the season, a mark only good enough for 18th in the league. Through the first few months of the season, they ranked among the top ten in the same category.
Color Commentator David Wesley has brought the point up on multiple occasions, stating that the struggles of late are all mental. Even Anthony Davis, who at sometimes can do almost no wrong, has hit a bit of a rough patch in the free throw department. As long as they focus the Pelicans should be able to convert at the line.
As if making the free throws was not hard enough, the Pels also struggle at getting to the line. They rank 20th in the league in attempts per game (21.8). Golden State ranks is about middle of the pack in terms of committing fouls, so as ironic as it may sound, the Pelicans will have to work to get their free shots.
If the likes of Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis can get to the line consistently, the burden for the rest of the offense against the league’s stingiest defense will become a lot lighter.