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December 4, 2012


I’ve decided to pay particularly close attention to the defensive strategy that the Orlando Magic team had exploited successfully, the ‘Hack-A-Howard’ – when they met and beat the LA Lakers earlier this week.

The Lakers went down 113 to 103 and Howard shot a dreadful 9 of 21 free throws with the rest of the team shooting 16 of 18.

This defensive strategy was originally concocted for the Chicago Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman, who was at best considered to be a poor free throw shooter.

The strategy was devised by Don Nelson as a way to slow down the Bulls offense.

This technique was reborn and popularised in the 2000 NBA Playoffs by Portland and Indiana when it was implemented against the powerful Shaquille O’Neal, who was a match up nightmare for both teams on the interior and proved to be successful in stopping the clock and returning less than 1pt per-possession.

Shaq responded with this quote regarding the strat against him in 2008 playoffs:-

“The only thing I call cowardly is when you’re up by 10 and do it. That’s a coward move and [Popovich] knows that and I’ll make them pay for it. [The strategy] doesn’t work. You know San Antonio tried it but they went home a couple weeks after we went home. I just have to go to the line and hit them and make them pay, and I will, I’m not worried.[20]

—Shaquille O’Neal”.

The Hack-A-Shaq has now been reborn into the Hack-A-Howard, and why not?

I’ve taken a very close look at Howard’s free throw shooting percentage since he started his career in the NBA in 04-05 where he shot at a fairly decent .671%.

Now, if you look closely at each year of Howard’s stats at the charity stripe (thanks to player profile) he has actually gotten far worse the longer he’s been in the NBA:-

04-05 0.671 277-413
05-06 0.595 356-598
06-07 0.586 390-666
07-08 0.590 529-897
08-09 0.594 504-849
09-10 0.592 483-816
10-11 0.596 546-916
11-12 0.491 281-572
12-13 0.465 087-187
0.584 3,453-5,914 Career
0.450 009-020 All-Star

Most players in the NBA who see as much court time as Howard have actually increased in the FT percentage, especially over the space of 7 years. This increase is due to the amount of practise and confidence a player builds throughout the duration of an NBA season.

Why or how is he getting worse?

This is a question for the Lakers coaches and trainers (i.e. Chuck Person free throw shooting coach for the Lakers) and they need to examine this quickly and closely if they want to rebel the Hack-A-Howard, which has been said by critics to be a failed strategy if the player can shoot at a rate of above .650% or 1.20 points per possession.

In a post-game interview Howard gave the comments to a reporter who asked him about his free throw shooting, (this was following the loss to Portland):-

“I hit them in practise, it just has happened for me in the game.

—Dwight Howard”.

Howard’s current rate for the 2012-2013 season is down to his own record low of 0.465% which places him in near the bottom of the NBA’s free throw shooters.

Although Howard is not the worst at free throws in the entire NBA something does need to happen fast to get him out of this rut as he also leads the league with visits to the charity stripe, so it would be in the Lakers best interest to get the help Howard needs.

We shall see how the Lakers shoot tonight as the Lakers face Houston with Gasol out injured, I consider his injury speculative at best (due to recent criticism about his reliability).

What are your thoughts?


From → Uncategorized

  1. dave permalink

    he hits them in training cause there is no pressure and the game isnt on the line.

    alot of it has to do with muscle memory also. nash and kobe and all elite ft shooters hits such a high rate cause he has trained his muscles to remember that motion perfectly. it never changes.

    and for dwight who has range of about 6ft being on the stripe plays mental games with him.
    so never being comfortable shooting mid range jumpers anyway being put on the spot and the pressure builds and lacking that muscle memory of a shooter he shoots a poor percentage.

  2. Phillopower permalink

    Awesome facts thanks coach
    I heard it has to do with Dwight having huge hands and less control when shooting. I didn’t realise he’s gotten worse.

  3. Portlandblazerboyyyy permalink

    Ben Wallace had the same issue

  4. All that is true, I’m not sure about the muscle memory though, can’t he buy muscle memory with the millions he has??? LoL…
    The guy sure does have a lot of muscle it might be hard for the big head to remember what muscle controls what.. .

  5. Note: – I can’t believe Gasol is pulling out that injury card… he is so soft… read my first blog to see how i predicted this…

    • dave permalink

      Yeh it was bound to happen but he might actually be hurting out there. And a very good reason why he has been struggling. you know what its like to play on a hurt ankle or knee, it limits your normal range of motion and can lead to alot of poor performances.

      hopefully this time off will coincide with Nash return and u get to see the lakers with their full unit playing the new system.

      i think in new system gasol will average 15 and 8. which are very solid numbers when u are 3rd maybe 4th option on the team

      • It all depends on him hitting that jump shot… if he can’t do that then no shot… none.. .

      • dave permalink

        yeah but on shit knees or a shit ankle u dont get your normal lift in your shot. COULD be the reason.

        definitly not saying it is, but even with the slightest injury if can change your shot

  6. dave permalink

    HAHAHA, muscle memory is the most important thing about pro sports. unless u work really hard at it and try and master it then he will struggle for a very very long time

  7. Black_top#3 permalink

    Hey coach I see the blog toastin away good to see you finally puttin your words to great use. you so right man, gas is gassed out and the hack is on the money Houton might be close today. See you at ball cus.

  8. I am Dwights Muscle Memory permalink

    Dwight is the most over rated under achiever I have ever seen.
    There are some players that are a liability on the court but this guy takes the cake. The cant count the number of times I’ve seen him turn the ball over or bricks a shot right next to the ring so it comes as no surprise that he can’t maintain a respectable free throw percentage.
    I mean seriously, he is retarded… He is the kid at preschool with the shaped blocks that tries to shove the square into the circle hole….. he has the muscle memory of a gold fish….

    • HAHAHAHAH thanks dwights muscle memory.. ahahahahahaha. classic…
      Well we’ve heard it here first.

    • miamistarter permalink

      You idiot dwight is the greatest athlete in the entire NBA and the best physical presnce in the key.

      • I am Dwights Muscle Memory permalink

        They also had key shaped blocks at the preschool, Dwight was shoving those ones up his nose……

    • miamistarter permalink

      You are dumb i can tell youve never been to a live game or ever played a real ball game in your life. Dwight is god. he would pound your face if he saw you.

      • I am Dwights Muscle Memory permalink

        Thats funny, I pound your mum’s face into the pillow matress every night and stuff my building blocks down her throat…

    • miamistarter permalink

      my 5 year old has more common sense momma jokes.
      thats sad. I guess just like your game.

      • Miami you have a kid, i thought all Miami fans were gay… Ohhhh!!!!

      • I am Dwights Muscle Memory permalink

        Miami, you must be super dumb. I am going to have to have a long discussion with your Mum next time I see her to find out if you were dropped as a child.

  9. I remember hearing about Ben Wallace practising free throws with a bigger size ball. I don’t know if it worked but, it was made custom for him to improve his free throws… I think what would have helped him more is a hair cut and a book. The guy had issues giving interview, lets say he wasn’t the inventor of scrabble.

  10. foolsgold permalink

    greatest not really — he’s ok.

  11. Lakers to win with Kobe getting 35 pts. 8 ast. 2 st 6 reb.
    Lakers 109-95

  12. Loving Lakers work ethic even without the big softy.. >Gas… Kobe playing well.. .the Heat getting handled by Washington… they’ve lost the last 3 games they’ve played against Washington??? how… I must look into this… well NeNE is a freak…. so it may have something to do with it..

  13. This was one of the most painful games to follow…I was seriously dying here… I wanted to somehow get inside coach D’antoni’s head and get him to kick Howard off… but NOOOO… he played it out and Houston went to Hack-A-Howard and they steadily scored 2 for every one and sometimes 2 for 0 even if they were shooting and missing alot. Gasol out of the lineup let Jamison get a run. He started nice enough but ended up costing us the game in turnovers in key possesions.

  14. Sorry guys who i didn’t approve your comments.. No swearing … Well to a certain degree anyway.

    • Tawain#1 permalink

      Howard, is a great player he just doesn’t fit into this rosta at all.
      I dont know about previous comments but you were correct about the fouling. It is ugly to watch this kind of game and really slow offence. Houston used that to perfection. You were correct coach.

      • Thanks for that. – Yeah it is painful.
        Lets see if we can work some ideas tomorrow about how to clean up this roster.

  15. 187er permalink

    All i can say is Dwight is a chump i mean really dude learn how to shot free throws for god sakes. How much money you get a season?? Practise for fuck sakes chump. And before you all say anything i am a Laker till i die and i have been since Jabbar and magic used to play. It makes me sick the guy misses free throws and he smiles you should be crying chump i can’t play for shit but i reckon i would have a better free throw percentage then the CHUMP. wanna be superman there is only one superman (Shaq)

  16. From the 187er we have one of the most important facts that has come up, When I guy takes a free throw with the game on the line and he misses – is he allowed to smile?

    The answer NO…

    He is not superman shaq was superman.

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