A few weeks ago, Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person said that Dwight Howard was shooting a little above 80 percent from the free-throw line during scrimmages and practice sessions. The news of Howard’s hot shooting from the charity stripe with promising with the superstar center thought to be on the verge of turning things around in that department.
Unfortunately, nothing has changed in terms of Howard’s shooting percentage from the free-throw line as he’s be as bad as ever in that category since. Although Howard is putting up All-Stars in the first 12 games of the regular season with 19.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game, the Lakers newest superstar addition isn’t getting it done from the line shooting only 49.2 percent.
Howard’s horrible free-throw shooting has become a liability for the Lakers moving forward in the same way it was with Shaquille O’Neal in Los Angeles. The Hack-a-Shaq has turned into Hack-a-Howard and teams are starting to use the strategy more and more.
Despite Howard’s poor shooting from the charity stripe, the 26-year-old believes it will be only a matter of time before he gets it going via Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times:
“The free throws will come,” Howard said. “They’ll get there. Just gotta keep playing.”
He noted that the fans at Staples Center helped him through a rough night.
“I think the fans tonight, they booed for a second, and then a lot of fans started cheering,” Howard said after the game. “The fans did a great job cheering me on.”
Howard was referring to the win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night at the Staples Center. The Hack-a-Howard was in full affect with the perennial All-Star only hitting seven of 19 attempts from the free-throw line against the Nets. Howard finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, but missing 12 free-throws isn’t going to get the job done and may hurt the Lakers in the long run in late-game situations.
Needless to say, Howard’s shooting from the charity stripe needs to improve. The liability at the line will prove to be costly otherwise with Hack-a-Howard becoming a useful tool for every opponent of the Lakers from here on out.