Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is hands down the best big man in the NBA. Dominant on the defensive end and a bull on the offensive end, opposing teams usually have no answer when trying to defend him. Except for one tactic – hacking.
It is no secret Howard struggles at the free throw line and that teams will intentionally foul him at just about any point in the game rather than risk a dunk or layup. For his career, he is a 59% free throw shooter with his best season being his rookie season when he averaged 67%. His worst season was during the 2006-2007 when he averaged 58% from the charity stripe.
And since it is well documented he is continuing to improve his game by working with one of the best centers to play in the league, Hakeem Olajuwon, Howard has now turned to shooting guru Ed Palubinskas in the hopes of becoming an all around threat. However, Palubinskas reached out to Howard last year but it fell upon deaf ears.
“I will completely change his numbers in less than one week and you won’t recognize him,” Palubinskas wrote then.
Good thing Howard finally hired him. Check out Palubinskas’ highlights from the report and see why he proclaims himself the “Free-Throw Master.”
Palubinskas, who made 87.5 percent of his free throws at LSU, has said he has been a 99 percent free-throw shooter for the last quarter of a century.
On his website, Palubinskas writes that he once made 1,206 of 1,265 free-throw attempts in one hour.
Impressive. Most impressive.
Hopefully Palubinskas’ coaching will improve Howard’s free throw touch seeing how his averages are worse when it counts – the playoffs. His career playoff free throw average is 58%.
But there is hope for Howard, since 2007 to last season he has shown slight improvement from the free throw line and has at least been holding steady:
- 2007-2008: 59%
- 2008-2009: 59.4%
- 2009-2010: 59.2%
- 2010-2011: 59.6%
Should Palubinskas do the impossible and correct Howard’s shooting mechanics, then watch out NBA. “Hack-A-Howard” won’t be a viable option anymore.