Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots a free throw with 5.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
A basketball game has four quarters, each quarter is twelve minutes. Add time-outs and commercial breaks to the game, and a quarter can stretch to over 20 minutes. If a game has a lot of fouls and free throws though, total game time could stretch to over 2-plus hours. The problem, according to one NBA lover and observer, isn’t so much game length as the quality of game play. When it comes to the enjoyment of the spectator, free throws are definitely dragging the game down.
ESPN basketball writer Kevin Arnovitz says that on average, 43 free throws are attempted in a game, which he equates to "43 buzzkills that send our attention away from one of the greatest stages in the world toward our mobile devices, remote controls, refrigerators and toilets." But free throws aren’t only a necessary part of the game, they are one of the most important tools in a coach’s toolbox.
Can you say Hack-a-Shaq?
Kevin Arnovitz, NBA writer for ESPN.com and editor of the TrueHoop Network