When Josh Harrellson was being recruited by Billy Gillsipie, his legend was built on two things: jean shorts and the free throw picture above. Two and a half years later, Jorts is still jorts, but his free throw fate has taken an odd turn and given us one of the strangest stats I’ve seen in awhile. To this point, Jorts has played 162 minutes in the middle for the Cats and grabbed a respectable 27 offensive rebounds. And he’s shot no free throws. In fact, going back to last season, he’s shot two in 250 minutes. While not necessarily indicative of some underlying problem with the team or a reason to panic, it does again reiterate another less obvious difference between the post presence between last year’s team and this one.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson combined to shoot a free throw every five minutes (and that’s not counting Orton or Stevenson). Obviously, this not only nets points for the Cats, but helped get teams into the bonus quicker and potentially change their defensive aggression and assignment. It’s one of the advantages that sometimes go unnoticed on teams with talented big men, but one that could make a huge difference in winning a game or two.
As we all know, Josh Harrellson is not DeMarcus Cousins and he’s not Patrick Patterson. He’s not going to demand the ball on the block regularly and back his man down one-on-one. If he’s going to get to the line, it’s going to be off of guards penetrating and dumping it off and by grabbing boards on the offensive end and putting them back. Josh knows that and everyone who has watched a game knows that. And that is what makes the stat even crazier.
Josh Harrellson is not playing poorly at all. In fact, you’d be pressed to find anyone who thinks he’s not doing exactly what he should be doing. He’s averaging almost 9 rebounds per game and is shooting an incredible 68% from the field. He’s pulled down 27 boards on the offensive end. On numbers alone, he’s doing exactly what this team needs him to do. He’s the garbage man and I mean that in the most sincere flattering way. But, not being a true post presence offensively does have its drawbacks and the missing free throw attempts are one of them.
And we all know the refs hate Jorts and his impeccable free throw form. Look at the jealousy in that picture. It’s burning the pixels up.