FanPost

Haywood's atrocious foul shooting and the absence of Dave Hopla

I've enjoyed seeing Brendan Haywood play well in these playoffs. I liked what he brought to the Wizards and appreciated that he took a professional approach toward improving his game and helping the team win (would that JaVale McGee did the same). But his problems at the free throw line really perplex me. He's been absolutely awful--it looks like randomly throwing the ball in the genreral direction of the basket would yield similar results.

I expect that folks around here remember that Haywood was not always this awful and at one point even became a pretty darn good foul shooter. In the 2007-08 season, Haywood shot .735 from the line (and 80% during the playoffs)--very solid numbers for a big man. This year: .362 in the regular season and 30% in the postseason. Like many other players, Haywood's bad foul shooting is hurting the rest of his offense -- he generally avoids shooting for fear of being fouled, and when he does have a scoring opportunity, he rushes it to avoid getting fouled. Despite this, he's been pretty productive for Dallas and has provided some solid minutes as Tyson Chandler's backup. But he'd be WAYYYY more valuable (and likely would see more time) if he could make a dang free throw.

Haywood gave a lot of credit for his improvement in 2007-08 to Dave Hopla, who the Wizards had hired as a full-time shooting coach. After the Wiz let Hopla go, Haywood started his regression as a shooter and hasn't been above .620 from the foul line any season since then. The Mavs have a reputation for being willing to pay for experts to help their players, so I would be surprised to find that they don't have a designated shooting coach working closely with Haywood, but clearly the results are not there. If Mark Cuban reads FanPosts on Wizards blogs, perhaps he will look into getting Hopla down to Dallas to help Haywood out.


This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.

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