In the world of talk show TV, Isiah Thomas is gold. And folks who make talk show TV know when they have somethign that is going to go bonkers in the ratings which is why NBA TV is zealously promoting a clip this afternoon in which former Thomas rips Karl Malone as the "weak link" of the Jazz teams that reached back-to-back NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.
The entire basis of Thomas' argument isthat Malone was not a good free throw shooter, particularly late in games, costing the Jazz at least one of the two championship that ultimately went to the Bulls. Thomas is not wrong in that Malone missed some inopportune free throws over the course of his career. But the term "weak link" is what sticks out, and is why it is the clip NBA TV is distributing to promote the Oct. 8 premiere of "Open Court."
Thomas' dissertation ignores the fact that Malone spent his career making himself a reliable free throw shooter. As a rookie in 1985-86, Malone made just 48.1 percent of his free throws, but shot under 70 percent only twice more in his career and retired in 2004 as a career 74.2 percent shooter.