There has been no shortage this summer of videos that show new Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard working on a perimeter jump shot. While Howard isn’t necessarily looking to take his offensive game away from the basket, he is hoping that an improved shooting stroke will lead to improvement at the free throw line.
If Howard can show any improvement at the line, it will be huge for the Hawks this season. Howard is a career 57 percent shooter at the line. He has seen his percentage decline for three straight seasons to a career-worst 49 percent last season.
Howard’s struggles at the free throw line are an underrated part of the reason that his usage rate declined in Houston. With more and more teams willing to employ hack-a-shaq techniques, there was less incentive to give him a steady diet of post touches that would ultimately result in failed trips to the free throw line.
It is a major positive to see that Howard recognizes his biggest weakness and is willing to put in a lot of work this off season. There is a huge mental part to free throw shooting, and if Howard believes that he can make them, that is a huge step towards actually improving.