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NBA PREVIEW: LAKERS : LAKERS FYI

Howard working to improve free-throw shooting

October 28, 2012|Mike Bresnahan
  • Dwight Howard is a career 58.8% free-throw shooter.
Dwight Howard is a career 58.8% free-throw shooter. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Dwight Howard steps up to the free-throw line. Everybody knows what's usually next.

Clang.

If there's a nit to pick in Howard's game, it's at the line. He's a career 58.8% free-throw shooter, and it's not an upward trend.

The Lakers' center was only 49.1% last season with Orlando, missing more free throws (291) than he made (281) for the first time in his eight-year career.

So the Lakers have tracked every one of his shots from the stripe since they acquired him in August, even in scrimmages and after practice when players shoot individually. Every single one.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Lakers roster: A chart in the Oct. 28 Sports section listed backup Lakers forward Devin Ebanks' uniform number as 12. Ebanks wears No. 3.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, November 04, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Lakers roster: A chart in the Oct. 28 Sports section listed backup Lakers forward Devin Ebanks' uniform number as 12. Ebanks wears No. 3.

"He's just a little bit above 80%," said Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person.

Eighty percent? Howard?

He made three of four free throws in the Lakers' exhibition finale Thursday against Sacramento, but only three of eight in his only other exhibition appearance.

"They were all straight," Person said. "I was actually very happy with the way he shot in terms of his preparation, his release, his follow-through."

To avoid too many coaches dispensing too much advice, Coach Mike Brown designated Person as the lone Lakers voice to help Howard solve his free-throw woes.

Person has already changed two things.

Howard used to set up at the line with the ball at his waist. Now he starts a bit below his chin. Person also worked to change Howard's unorthodox release.

"He would start low and come up and stop the ball in front of his eyes. He only had one eye on the ball so he would move his head to the left, which would make his right elbow come out," Person said. "He was basically shooting sideways. He would put his thumb on the ball so his rotation was improper every time."

Sounds like a problem.

"We lifted the ball straight up, his elbow just below his eye level, so now he clearly has both eyes on the rim," Person said. "It relaxes his upper body."

And, the Lakers hope, increases his accuracy.

Bryant still out

Kobe Bryant did not practice Saturday, continuing to rest his strained right foot in hopes of playing in the season opener Tuesday against Dallas.

"Knowing Kobe, I think he'll play," Pau Gasol said. "He plays through so much."

Bryant was injured Wednesday when he tripped over Sacramento forward Thomas Robinson while cutting through the lane.

Bryant was having a solid exhibition season, averaging 20.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in only 26.8 minutes.

Goudelock cut

Second-year guard Andrew Goudelock was waived Saturday, bringing the Lakers down to 15 players, the NBA maximum.

Second-round draft picks Robert Sacre and Darius Johnson-Odom will be on the opening-night roster, though their contracts aren't guaranteed until January.

Goudelock averaged 3.8 points in six exhibition games. As a rookie last season, he averaged 4.4 points in 40 games.

--

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.

--

THE STARTERS

All statistics are from 2011-12 season

--

GUARDS

24 KOBE

BRYANT

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 17 6-6 27.9 5.4 4.6 *--*

The first minute of the Lakers' opener marks the 59,659th of his career, including playoffs. Phew. Must improve 43% shooting last season, third worst of his career.

10 STEVE

NASH

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 17 6-3 12.5 3.0 10.7 *--*

At 38 years young, he gets the

keys to an offense that went

13 consecutive games last

season without breaking 100.

It won't happen again.

--

CENTER

12 DWIGHT

HOWARD

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 9 6-11 20.6 14.5 1.9 *--*

How quickly will he

make Lakers fans

forget about

Andrew Bynum?

Already happened.

--

FORWARDS

15 METTA

WORLD PEACE

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 14 6-7 7.7 3.4 2.2 *--*

Modern-day miracle? Showed up in shape with improved outside touch despite steady Twitter stream featuring nightclubs and other off-season escapades.

16 PAU

GASOL

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 12 7-0 17.4 10.4 3.6 *--*

Would be entering

his second season with the

Houston Rockets if not for

David Stern's veto power.

Thrilled to still be here.

--

THE BENCH

--

FORWARDS

4 ANTAWN

JAMISON

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 15 6-9 17.2 6.3 2.0 *--*

Despite ragged exhibition season, he's better than Matt Barnes as the Lakers' top option off the bench . . . isn't he?

12 DEVIN

EBANKS

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 3 6-9 4.0 2.3 0.5 *--*

Re-signed by the Lakers after a few spot starts last season. This is his last chance to show something.

6 EARL

CLARK

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 4 6-10 2.7 2.8 0.4 *--*

A throw-in from the Howard trade. Still trying to live up to being the 14th pick in the 2009 draft.

--

GUARDS

20 JODIE

MEEKS

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 4 6-4 8.4 2.4 0.8 *--*

Supposed to be

the Lakers' best

three-point shooter

since . . . since . . . since . . .

Brian Shaw?

21 CHRIS

DUHON

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 9 6-1 3.8 1.6 2.4 *--*

Throw-in from the Howard trade hasn't done much since the

2008-09 season in New York when he averaged 11.1 points

and 7.2 assists.

1 DARIUS

MORRIS

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 2 6-4 2.4 0.8 1.1

*--*

Now or never for the young

point guard. He's in the last

year of his contract and

buried on the depth

chart.

5 STEVE

BLAKE

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 10 6-3 5.2 1.6 3.3 *--*

Overcame dual threats of spike strip in beach parking lot and newly acquired Chris Duhon to retain second-string point

guard status.

7 DARIUS

JOHNSON-ODOM

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG R 6-2 18.3 3.5 2.7 *--*

Stats from last season at Marquette

Second-round pick beat the

odds by earning a spot on the roster. He won't see much time, though.

--

CENTERS

27 JORDAN

HILL

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG 4 6-10 5.0 4.8 0.4 *--*

Played well enough in

the playoffs to receive a

two-year, $7-million

contract. Now he has to

earn it.

50 ROBERT

SACRE

*--* Yr. Ht. PPG RPG APG R 7-0 11.6 6.3 0.7 *--*

Stats from last season at Gonzaga

The last player taken in the June draft beat steep odds to make the roster. His contract won't become guaranteed, however, till January.

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