Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, and Pau Gasol stand together… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )
Through Thanksgiving, the Lakers are the worse free-throw shooting team in the league at 67.2%
When acquiring a talent like Dwight Howard, who has struggled throughout his career at the line, the Lakers were willing to sacrifice in one area to gain in many others.
The Lakers draw more fouls than any other team in the league at 23.9 a game. They also lead in differential between how many fouls they commit (a fourth-best 18.2 a game) at 5.7.
Some of that is forced by Kobe Bryant and his ability to draw fouls. So far this year, Bryant has attempted 213 free throws in 12 games, converting 87.6%.
Teams undoubtedly list both Howard and Jordan Hill on their scouting reports. Howard has been to the line a team-high 130 times in 439 minutes, shooting only 49.2%.
Hill has 39 attempts despite playing 16.7 minutes a game, hitting 61.5% from the line. That's a rate equivalent to Bryant at 0.2 free throws per minute on the court. In comparison, Pau Gasol (75%) and Metta World Peace (77.8%) go to the line about 0.09 times per minute.
One of the main statistical reasons the Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday was free-throw shooting, but Howard can't be blamed for everything in that category.
Against the Kings, Howard converted three of his four attempts while the Lakers as a whole made 27 of 39.
Clearly it's an area the team would like to improve upon. Even a minor up-tick could be the difference between a close loss and a relatively easy win.
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You can email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.