The Los Angeles Lakers have filed a complaint with the league in reference to hard fouls on Dwight Howard. The Lakers’ center shoots an abysmal 49% from the charity stripe, thus compelling teams to compete with Howard’s strength and superior athleticism by simply fouling him and dealing with what points he manages to take away at the line.
This is the same old song and dance that the Lakers dealt with when Shaquille O’Neal was in LA. Hack-A-Shaq became the cool thing to do because of Shaq’s power and particularly poor free throw shooting percentage.
Via T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times:
“There’s a protocol to airing opinions or complaints with the NBA. And we’ve done that.” said Mitch Kupchak. “The game has evolved and like a lot of other sports where attention is now being given to protect players, the NBA is interested in doing so as well. I don’t know if they will review our concerns, but [hard fouls] have resulted in injury to one of our players.”
We’ve seen player safety become a huge topic for discussion among pro sports circles over the past couple of seasons, and given the fact that Howard just underwent back surgery and is now battling a torn labrum, this complaint filed by the Lakers was only a matter of time. Dwight has battled and complained about the hard fouls for years now, and the whole thing looks to be coming to a head because of his recent struggles with injury. The Lakers can’t have an injured product becoming more battered and bruised, but the NBA is a contact sport, and playing in the paint isn’t for the faint of heart. Blake Griffin voiced similar concerns last season.