Julius Randle Knicks
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Why can’t the New York Knicks sink their free throws?

To say the New York Knicks have a free throw problem would be an understatement.

They rank 22nd in free throw percentage with a team mark of 76%. Granted, the Knicks made just 78.4% of their attempts from the charity stripe last year, but they at least ranked 14th in the league. Middle of the pack is still an improvement over lower tier.

The team’s free throw woes made their latest appearance in Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Knicks’ lost 112-110 and were 24 of 33 from the line. That’s nine points that could have been. Just three more makes, and it’s a win.

Nothing to say of what else plagued the Knicks against Minnesota. Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson both fouled out, and Nerlens Noel’s latest injury left New York without a proper center. The Knicks committed 18 turnovers to the Timberwolves’ 12. The team did plenty more than miss free throws to beat itself.

And oddly enough, free throws have not cost the New York Knicks many games this season. Looking at all 23 losses, only two can really be pinned on not making free throws. It’s very much a problem that needs fixing but, at the same time, is more of a frustration.

Except we’re now past the halfway point of the season. New York has been streaky all year and stands 22-23, one game out of the play-in tournament. Not exactly an ideal position for a team looking to build off of last year’s surprise playoff run, is it?

One way or another, the New York Knicks have to find a way to get it together. There is literally no excuse for missing free throws. It’s in the name. Free. Throw. An opportunity to score points without defenders in your face.

The Knicks haven’t been able to get that done. They need to be better.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.