Embiid By Far Best FT Shooter Among Game’s Career-Best Centers

Embiid By Far Best FT Shooter Among Game’s Career-Best Centers
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Anytime you find your name above the likes of Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell, you know you must be doing something right.

That’s exactly where Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid finds himself when it comes to the best NBA centers at the free-throw line. The defending MVP is posting much better free throw numbers than the legends of the sport.

That deft touch from the line is one of the reasons why Embiid is on track to lead the league in scoring for the third consecutive season this during a guard-dominated era. Embiid is hitting free throws at an astounding 89% clip this year – good for 16th in the league - and is 82.4% so far for his career.

PennStakes.com – your source for Pennsylvania sports betting - broke down how Embiid compares at the line with other great centers to give greater context to how unique the ninth-year center’s achievements at the stripe have been.

Top Career Centers at Free Throw Line

PlayerYearFT Pct.
Joel Embiid2016-202482.4%
Patrick Ewing1985-200274.0%
David Robinson1989-200373.7%
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar1969-8972.1%
Hakeem Olajuwon1984-200271.2%
Bill Russell1956-6956.1%
Shaquille O’Neal1992-201152.7%
Wilt Chamberlain1959-7351.1%


Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in PA. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Stacking Up Embiid Against the Greats

Of the sport’s best centers, none can come within an eyelash (or an entire head, for that matter) of Embiid’s career 82.4% free throw percentage, showing how much of a unicorn the 7-foot Cameroonian is. The next closest of the sport’s legends is Patrick Ewing, who hit 74% of his free throws between 1985 and 2002. “The Admiral,” David Robinson, was next, at 73.7%.

Robinson’s 14-year run with the San Antonio Spurs allowed him to stay ahead of Abdul-Jabbar, who hit 72.1% of his freebies during his legendary 20-year NBA career. Other players who Embiid towers over when it comes to free throw percentage are Hakeem Olajuwon (71.2%), Russell (56.1%), Shaquille O’Neal (52.7%) and Wilt Chamberlain (51.1%).

Let’s just say there won’t be a “Hack-A-Embiid” campaign among NBA head coaches anytime soon, as the nine-year veteran has the shooting touch of a guard at the line.

It’s that touch that’s propelled Embiid near the top of the NBA MVP odds board at ESPN BET Pennsylvania.  He is at +425 to repeat in winning the award in 2024. Overall, Embiid ranks behind two-time MVP winner Nikola Jokic (+225) on the operator’s board. Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks (also +425) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (+800) of the Milwaukee Bucks round out the top of the list.

Right now, Embiid and the 76ers have grander plans, with Philly sitting at +1200 to win the club’s first NBA title since 1983 next spring at ESPN Bet. If you do bet on the NBA, make sure you check out the best PA sportsbook promo codes.



Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: