I can hear the Lakers fans now — “Why didn’t he just shoot them that way last season? Couldn’t have been any worse.”
Free throw shooting has been Dwight Howard’s kryptonite on the court, he shot just 49 percent the last two seasons (he is a career 57.7 percent from the stripe). It leads to the hack-a-Howard strategy and keeps Howard on the bench at key moments at the end of games.
He always talks about fixing it, then came this report out of the Houston Chronicle — Howard beat James Harden (career 84.4 percent from the line) in a free throw contest where both were shooting with their eyes closed. Howard hit 8 of 10, according to the report.
“I might have to start [shooting with] my eyes closed in games,” Howard said. “I have a good percentage. I am 8 for 10 with my eyes closed….
“There is a guy who has the world record for most free throws made and he told me to do that drill and it’s good for trusting your form.”
Howard actually shoots free throws better in practice, but when the pressure is on in a game he over-thinks it and misses. It goes back to one of the big questions about the Rockets this season and the next few — how does Howard deal with adversity when it comes? The past couple years not well at all, but has he grown and matured from all this?
Free throw percentage could be a barometer of that answer. Or, he could just shoot with his eyes closed.