3 ways Paolo Banchero will improve in 2024
2. Free-Throw Shooting
Although Paolo Banchero was not a horrific free-throw shooter, he certainly can take advantage of more of those opportunities he gets at the stripe.
Banchero got to the free-throw line more than any other player in Orlando and put himself in the elite class of free throw getters in Magic history with 7.4 attempts per game. It had become a recognizable part of his game throughout the entire season. The next closest Magic player in total attempts was Franz Wagner with 322 compared to Banchero’s 534.
But he ended the season with a 72.3 free throw percentage on the season. The all-time average for NBA power forwards from the line is 0.1 percent greater than that. So, by all means, Banchero has not been poor from the line but it could be better in many ways.
He never got to 80 percent from the free-throw line in any month throughout the season. He finished with below a 75 percent average in the majority of the months during the season.
This is to say that Banchero is elite at getting to the line. And this is typically not something that dissipates. A player who is good at getting to the foul line will almost always get to the foul line throughout the prime of his career.
This is going to be a central part of Banchero’s offensive identity throughout his career. And one little improvement can go a long way.
For instance, say Banchero improved his free throw percentage from 73.8 percent to even 75.0 percent at his current rate. Even just using last year’s stats that would mean making six or seven more free throws. That is certainly achievable for him. Expand that out and those free throws could flip games in the Magic’s favor.
In a postseason chase that will have very tight margins, converting at the foul line at a high rate and making teams regret fouling you is a big part of how Banchero can improve dramatically even off his stellar rookie season.
If Banchero can get some reps at the stripe throughout the offseason to improve the makes he has next season. It can really up his game quite a bit. He is top 15 in the entire league with getting to the line on total attempts, he just needs to find ways to fix his shot in that situation.