NBA legend: people laugh at Dwight Howard who needs music for shooting freethrows


calvin-murphyHouston Rockets center Dwight Howard continues to struggle from the free throw line, as the season goes on. Howard is 51-for-104 on the season at this point, a career low .490, NBA.com reported.

One of legendary NBA players, former Houston Rocket, Calvin Murphy says Howard’s free throw shooting is becoming the symbol of who he is.

“The truth is nobody will ever talk about how good you are if you’re gonna stand up there and go 5-for-16 at the foul line. He has to erase that,” Murphy said, who is a TV analyst in Houston.

“First off, I’ve always been a big fan of Howard. I love his enthusiasm, his athleticism and his aggressiveness on the court. He’s a helluva player and the truth is we should be talking about how he’s out there busting his ass every night, gobbling up rebounds, anchoring the defense. There are a lot of nights when he’s a shot-blocking machine,” Murphy said.

Murphy himself ranks 7th on NBA’s all-time career free throw percentage list with 89 percent. Murphy played in 1002 NBA games, averaging double figures in scoring in all of his seasons in the league. During his playing time he was one of the most accurate free-thrown shooters in the league.

Murphy averaged over 90 percent of shooting from free throw line in 6 NBA seasons. He led the NBA in free throw percentage twice, with 95 and 92 percent respectively in 80-81 and 82-83 seasons. A 1979 NBA All-Star Murphy holds career averages of 17.9 ppg and 4.4 apg in 30.5 minutes of playing time.

“It frustrates me to sit there and watch it. Look, they say it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks at this point 10 years into his career. But I’m telling you, it’s all about his mechanics and a good teacher could have the problem fixed in a month or so and by February or March nobody would be fouling him and sending him to the line,” Murphy said, commenting on the Hack-a-Howard strategy.

Murphy emphasized that he has a job and is not campaigning to help Howard. But he also noted that in 44 years of living in Houston, while also traveling the world on behalf of the NBA putting on shooting clinics, only two Rockets have ever asked for his help on free throws: Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and enforcer Larry Smith.

“One guy didn’t need my help and the other one was at the end of his career,” Murphy said. “Howard’s mechanics are only slightly off, but it makes a difference. I’m not saying everybody has to shoot exactly the same way. But Howard shoots from the waist up and most of the time he pushes the ball and it doesn’t come off his fingertips.

“I’ve heard people laugh when Dwight says he he needs to have the right song in his head at the line. But it’s no joke. Shooting is all about rhythm.”

It’s also about confidence and rising to meet the challenge. Howard works diligently on free throws after each practice and those who work with him say he buries most of them, even putting together long strings of makes.

“I don’t care about how many Dwight makes in practice when it doesn’t matter,” Murphy said. “If he had truly good mechanics, they wouldn’t break down in games. You look at Howard out there when it’s on the line and he’s got the expectation that he’s going to miss.

“The attitude you have to have is, ‘C’mon, foul me and I’ll go right up there and stick it in your eye.’ Instead, he blinks. Dwight and nobody else want to miss at the foul line, but your mind starts playing games. Eventually it affects everybody on the team.”

More teams will probably foul Howard with a game on the line if he can’t step up and make free throws.

“I know I would,” Murphy said. “I don’t want to hear that stuff about changing rules. That’s all I hear these days in sports. They want to take tackling out of football. They tell defenders in the NBA that you can’t impede a guy’s progress. People want to say don’t let them foul a guy like Howard. I say make your damn free throws.”

“I’ll tell you what. If I’m playing the Rockets in a playoff series, a championship game, I’m touching him from the time he walks out of the locker room. You get mad all you want at me. I don’t care. I’m here to win the game. You should be too.”

“It’s on Howard to get mad enough to fix the problem.”

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