Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin appeared on the Ian O’Connor show on ESPN Radio New York Sunday morning, speaking about the upcoming season, the addition of Dwight Howard, working with Hakeem Olajuwon, and playoff expectations.
But he did say something about Howard that raised many people’s eyebrows:
“One thing that people don’t really see, [Howard] can really shoot free throws,” Lin said. “When we were shooting, he was shooting really, really well. And I think for him it’s just a matter of getting more comfortable in a game. It’s definitely there. Sometimes you’ll see players who might not be able to shoot the free throw that, well, you can understand. … But he can really shoot, and that’s something that really caught me by surprise.”
Howard is 58 percent free throw shooter for his career, and has had career low marks of 49 percent from the charity stripe in his last 2 seasons.
But Lin’s claim might be true, as ridiculous as that sounds: it was reported last year that Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers said that he makes about 80 percent of his free throws in practice on a consistent basis.
Beto Duran of ESPN Radio Los Angeles was able to take a picture of the Lakers’ whiteboard that detailed the entire team’s free throw marks in practice vs. their performance in games last February:
The second column marks the free throw makes/attempts for each player at practice, and the second column marks their makes/attempts in games. As you can see, the numbers don’t lie: Howard had converted on 82% of his free throws in a practice setting.
It’ll be important now for the coaching staff to find a way for him to get into his practice groove shooting free throws in games. The Rockets are already at a disadvantage from the charity stripe with their other big man, Omer Asik, who shoots just 53 percent from the line for his career.