By now, Dwight Howard’s struggles at the free throw line have been well documented. Currently shooting a career low 48% this season from the charity strike, Dwight’s performance at the line has been abysmal. So abysmal, that many teams have begun to employ a ‘Hack-a-Dwight” strategy late in games to slow down the Lakers offensively. And with Dwight hitting less than half of his free throws, there’s a good chance the Lakers come up empty on offense when this strategy is executed.
Many have wondered whether or not head coach Mike D’Antoni would consider sitting Dwight late in games to avoid him being fouled. If you ask D’Antoni, that isn’t an option.
Per LA Times:
“I’m not taking Dwight out. He’s too valuable. You take him out, like when they did hack-a-Shaq at the end … then defensively we can’t stop anybody,” said D’Antoni. “He’ll make his foul shots. I’ve got faith in him. If everybody plays hard and if that’s how we go down, then we’ll go down that way.”
On plays where the team needs a three, D’Antoni isn’t concerned about Howard getting caught with the ball — and sent to the free-throw line.
“We know how to get around that,” he said. “That’s not a big deal.”
Despite his struggles at the line, D’Antoni is right. The Lakers are just unable to stop anyone defensively when Dwight isn’t on the floor.
They’ll have to just take their chances.