Judging Dwight Howard and the 7 Worst Free-Throw Shooters in the NBA

Al Rieger@Al RiegerCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2012

Judging Dwight Howard and the 7 Worst Free-Throw Shooters in the NBA

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    When games come down to the wire, free throws often play an integral role in the final outcome. It's not the most glamorous part of the game, but it can be the difference between winning and losing.

    They are professional basketball players in the NBA and they can't make a shot 13 feet from the basket. They dunk, rebound and score, but can't seem nail free throws on a consistent basis.

    Here are the seven worst free-throw shooters in the NBA.  

Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)

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    If it wasn't for his free-throw shooting, Dwight Howard might be considered the most dominant player in the NBA. That aside, Howard is still the undisputed No. 1 center in the world, as he is putting up astounding stats this season: 21.1 ppg, 14.7 rpg, 2.2 bpg.  

    Still, this doesn't make up for his horrific free-throw percentage. Howard has attempted a league-high 529 free throws so far and made less than half of them, at 48 percent. That's significantly down from last year, when he finished the season shooting nearly 60 percent.  

    Howard has a big weakness in his game and opposing teams know it. The most effective way to stop the Magic is to send Howard to the line. His career-worst free-throw shooting is hurting the Magic in a big way.  

    "At this point in the year, [Howard's free throw shooting] is a matter of winning games, and it will really matter in the playoffs," said Howard's free-throw shooting coach, via Bright House Sports Network


Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers)

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    Blake Griffin doesn't have many weaknesses in his game, but free-throw shooting is one aspect that will surely get the attention of the Clippers' coaching staff in the offseason.  

    His 20.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game is nothing short of beastly. However, his poor free-throw shooting has potential to taint his legacy if he can't correct it.  

    He's attempted 365 free throws this year, sixth highest in the NBA, and converted only 54.5 percent. In a game against the Indiana Pacers, in which Griffin went 2-for-7 from the line, Griffin was asked about his free-throw shooting and afterwards he swore, obviously upset about it, via Los Angeles Times.

JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets)

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    JaVale McGee is making a case for Most Improved Player, but there's one aspect of his game that's in need of some serious improvement: free throws.

    Since he was traded to the Denver Nuggets, McGee is shooting a pitiful 27 percent, going just 3-of-11 from the charity line. On the Washington Wizards, he only converted 58-of-166 free throws (50 percent).

    The emotional center is mostly known for his hard-hat, lunch-pail attitude, similar to Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls (minus the hair). Noah, though, is a much better free-throw shooter than McGee and it makes him much more valuable. 

    While McGee has blossomed into a legitimate NBA big man, this is one aspect of his game that needs attention in the offseason. 

Ben Wallace (Detroit Pistons)

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    Ben Wallace is a notoriously bad free-throw shooter. For his 16 year career, Wallace is shooting a dreadful 41.4 percent from the line. That's inexcusable for a professional basketball player.  

    This year, he's made 8-of-27 (29.6 percent). He doesn't just miss, he misses big—often missing the rim altogether.  

DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers)

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    The L.A. Clippers are the second-worst free-throw shooting team in the NBA and DeAndre Jordan is a big reason why. He's attempted 108 free throws already and made only half of them.

    Jordan has risen from the depths. He used to be known only for his athleticism and defense, but now he's proven he can put up some solid numbers, nearly averaging a double-double for the season, as well as over two blocks per game.  

    It's time for Jordan to take his free-throw game seriously. As he gets more respect, he's going to get more calls. Knocking down free throws will be critical for the Clippers in the playoffs.

    At least he's not as bad as his car-jumping teammate... 

Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Bobcats)

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    While Bismack Biyombo doesn't get to the line very often, the 19-year-old rookie from the Congo has made it known he has trouble with free throws. Biyombo often misses both free throws when he gets fouled, and is just 42-of-88 from the line.

    Biyombo is a lanky athlete who is likely to be a rebounding machine in the NBA, but if the Congolese youngster wants to distinguish himself in the NBA, he should make it a point to work more on his free-throw shooting.  

Brendan Haywood (Dallas Mavericks)

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    This is Brendan Haywood's 11th season in the NBA and he is still a terrible free-throw shooter. He's converted just 36 of his 78 free throws this year (46 percent). This is his second-worst year in terms of free-throw percentage (his lowest was 36 percent, last year).

    Interestingly, when he was with the Washington Wizards, he was shooting over 60 percent from the line, and during the 2007-08 season, he shot 73.5 percent.