Commentary

Hacking Howard not the Dwight move

Thoughts on Golden State's foul strategy and more (PER Diem: Jan. 13, 2012)

Updated: January 13, 2012, 2:50 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Dwight Howard AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezGolden State sending Dwight Howard to the line 39 times wasn't great strategy. Hollinger explains.

Here's the thing about Hack-a-Dwight, or Hack-an-anybody: The player has to be an exceptionally bad foul shooter for this strategy to have much merit. Emphasis on exceptionally. It works with Ben Wallace or DeAndre Jordan. With just about anyone else, it's highly questionable.

Take Thursday night, for instance. Dwight Howard is a career 59.5 percent foul shooter and has done slightly better than that each of the past three seasons. But let's take 59.5 percent as his chances of converting any given free throw. Sending him to the line for two shots produces an expected return of 1.19 points from the foul shots, a scoring rate better than that of any offensive team in the history of basketball. Just sending him to the line time after time is one of the worst percentage moves a team could possibly make.

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