As great as the Dwight Howard addition has been for the Los Angeles Lakers, the one problem has been his free throw shooting. There have already been several games where Howard has missed more free throws than the opponent’s margin of victory, and that’s not acceptable.
We all know a healthy Howard can bring great things for the organization and impact the game in a lot of ways. For Howard to reach his maximum potential that he possesses he is going to have to hit his free throws at a better rate.
It is one thing to miss free throws at a high rate but when the opponent goes into hack-a-Howard, it throws the whole flow of the game out of whack. Mike D’Antoni has already said his offense works best when there is rhythm and flow, and when the game gets slowed down like on Sunday night against the Orlando Magic there can be problems.
When teams foul Howard, he simply has to make them pay. When Howard misses both free throws he is letting the other team gets off the hook and the Lakers are getting empty possessions. At the moment the Lakers aren’t a team that can afford to have empty possessions on offense because their defense is average at best. For the Lakers to be the best they can Howard is going to have to take ownership of this issue and knock down some free throws.
As a person who has played basketball and has been around the game for over 20 years, the things that usually takes place in practice carry over to the game. I have heard several times that Howard shoots 80% from the free throw line during practice and that might be so, but if that doesn’t translate into real game situations it means nothing.