The NBA Board of Governors recently decided against changing the Intentional Foul rule at the 2015 annual summer meeting.
With the Intentional foul rule still intact, the Houston Rocket should expect the “Hack-A-Howard” to continue in the upcoming 2015-16 season. A “Hack-A-Howard” is a intentional foul committed against Dwight Howard, who is notoriously famous for missing his foul foul shot.
Howard shot 41% from the foul line in the 2015 Playoffs. He has made 68 of 165 free throw attempts; that averages to 9.88 missed free throws per game. He missed 97 foul shots in seventeen post season games.
In past seasons, Dwight Howard has studied under Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon, to improve on his low-post moves. I always felt that if he improved his low post moves, it would be counterproductive, because with it, the residual would be addition trips to the foul line; consequentially giving the advantage to the opposition.
Dwight Howard shot a dominate 59.3% from the field in 2015 mainly on dunks and put backs, but only connected on 57% of his free throws. Because he struggles to make free throws, his strength of offensive prowess around the basket becomes a weakness, Hence head coach Kevin McHale has a big dilemma.
I would rather have Dwight practice free throw shooting with former Rockets Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy this summer than Hakeem Olajuwon (no disrespect to The Dream). Murphy made 206 of 215 free throws in 1981 for an incredible 95.8% in that season, and shot 89% from the free throw for his career.
There is no shame in hiring a coach specifically to help with free-throw shooting. The Dallas Mavericks was the first team to hire a full-time Free-Throw Coach Gary Boren, in 1999. With Boren, the Mavericks, finished in the top six in free-throw shooting the league during his tenure. But it appears that, both players and franchises are resistant to investing in a full-time free throw coach.
“If someone can’t shoot free throws, that’s their problem.” – Popovich
On an off day, after the Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2015 Western Conference Playoffs, Howard said, “I worked on free throws because we struggled the whole series.”
WHAT? Did he just say, “WE struggled?” San Antonio Spurs Head Coach, Gregg Popovich, believes the intentional foul (Hack-A-Howard) is a legitimate strategy and it should stay, saying, “If someone can’t shoot free throws, that’s their problem.”
Dwight improving his free throw shooting could be the key to once again unlocking the championship vault in “Clutch City”. No big deal, every player has a part of their game that needs some work.
Perhaps Calvin Murphy is still available this summer. But, how important is it to Dwight to be a better free throw shooter? Only Dwight Howard can answer that question.
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