The Hack-A-Dwight

11/21/12 in NBA   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

The Los Angeles Lakers have a history of employing the top centers in basketball. Moving down the list you might see names like George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Shaquille O'Neal.  The Lakers drafted Andrew Bynum directly out of high school with high hopes that he may become the next dominant Laker center.

After seven years with the oft-injured center, they decided to ship him out and replace him with Dwight Howard. It may just be coincidence, however, both Wilt and Shaq were notoriously awful free throw shooters.  Shaq was so dominant in the paint and awful at the line that coaches began to implement the Hack-A-Shaq and force him to hit free throws instead of the Lakers forming an offensive possession. 

Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.Dwight Howard has been sub-par from the line throughout his career and he is not nearly as dominant on the offensive side of the ball as Shaq once was. his offensive game is limited in terms of efficiency, meaning the Lakers will not throw the ball down to him in the post to begin each possession and work inside-out. 

Last night we witnessed the first Hack-A-Dwight by Coach Avery Johnson and his Brooklyn Nets. The tactic proved to be useful and effective as Dwight never hit more than 1/2. However, the Nets couldn't throw a rock in the ocean over the last few minutes of the game and it cost them the victory. 

But will the success of Hack-A-Dwight begin a trend throughout the league moving forward? Probably. Until he can begin to consistently hit both shots from the charity stripe, teams will almost certainly substitute a player specifically to foul Dwight and limit the Lakers possessions. 

Another way for Dwight to avoid the embarrassment at the line is for him to improve his game. He has come a long way since his rookie season, but as long as he remains a fit yet skinny center, he will never be able to truly dominate on the low block. 

The Lakers are in trouble if this becomes a year-long issue because they won't be able to keep Dwight on the court during crunch time.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview