Dwight Howard and his poor free throw shooting have been the subject of much consternation for the Lakers. Howard is shooting under 47 percent from the line, and has attempted 211 foul shots — more than any other player in the league by a wide margin.
Howard showcases his gregarious personality on the regular with the media, but he clams up when asked about free throws. He doesn’t like to talk about the one area where his skill set is the weakest, yet the questions are going to keep coming as long as he continues to miss and teams continue their plans to strategize against him.
As the Lakers finished shootaround in Oklahoma City on Friday, it was noticed that Steve Nash had some words for Howard regarding his free throws — maybe about his form, maybe about his rhythm, maybe about something else. When asked about Nash’s advice, Howard made it clear that he’s done listening to everyone where his free throw shooting is concerned.
“Listen, he was just suggesting some things, but it’s not something that we’ve already talked about or anybody else has suggested,” Howard said. “My mind cannot get clouded with everybody telling me how to shoot a free throw. I just have to go up there and shoot it my way and not get caught up in what everybody else is saying, because that’s when I miss.”
Howard has a point, but only to a certain extent.
A lot of the free throw thing is mental, especially in game situations when fatigue comes into play, and when there are so many other things going on at that moment that can divert a player’s concentration. In practice, for example, Howard’s percentages are far above those he achieves during his games.
At the same time, Howard can’t afford to shut anyone down who’s trying to help — especially not Nash, who is right there with Mark Price at the top of the all-time leader board for career free throw percentage in NBA history.