Dwight Howard Makes Free Throw History and Other Records You Don’t Want To Hold
Three hours into last night’s Warriors-Magic game, it hit me: this is what witnessing history feels like. It feels like the game should have been over an hour ago.
In case you missed the big news, in the Warriors-Magic game last, W’s coach Mark Jackson decided to employ a defensive strategy that involved fouling Dwight Howard a lot. Not just a lot, they fouled him so much that Dwight Howard shot a record number of free throws in a regular-season game. He shot 39 free throw attempts in that game (he made 21), breaking a record originally set 50 years ago by Wilt Chamberlain. And I watched every single one of them.
But this isn’t a record like most points in a game or most rebounds in a game or anything like that. This isn’t a reason for Dwight Howard to go home and update his résumé. Did he earn those free throws? Some of them. But more than half of those attempts came because Dwight Howard is historically so bad at shooting free throws that the other team strategically decided that it will result in fewer points per possession to hand him two unguarded, untimed opportunities from 15 feet away than actually play the game.
This record isn’t something he got because he went out and took it from all the other players in history. Free throw attempts are a stat that Dwight Howard accumulates because he is so drastically bad at them. This record is by no means an achievement. I’m actually a little surprised this record is even kept. It’s a double-edged record, like a cornerback who records a lot of tackles because he can’t cover anyone.
Not since the second part of the two-part Step by Step season 5 finale, when Flash tried to take in all the Disneyland attractions in record time have I felt less underwhelmed by a record-attempt. Sure, Flash was chasing history, but it’s not because he enjoyed the park more than anyone ever, it’s because the park and his friends were giving it to him for him. He didn’t have to wait in line for anything. Sure, he was the face riding all the rides and generally montaging like I’ve never seen before, but the real work was being done by JT and the guys waiting in line in his place the whole time.
I remember getting to the end of that episode and genuinely not caring about that record. Part of that was because I was crushing so hard on Al, but the other part was because I felt like this is a record that a bunch of other people earned for Flash.
If anything, this is a record that the GSW set, not Dwight Howard. They decided to foul him that much. The only thing outstanding about Dwight Howard is his low free throw percentage. When giving a player offense is a legitimate defense, something is wrong. I’m just saying – if D12 were an average free throw shooter, he wouldn’t hold this record. It’s not really worth celebrating.