Dwight Howard, Steve Nash

It’s hard to say if this stats is a praise to the free throw shooting accuracy of Steve Nash, or a jab at the ability of Dwight Howard to convert his trips to the line, as the Los Angeles Lakers center has already missed more shots from the line this season than Nash has during his entire NBA career, spanning nearly 17 seasons.

It always looks better in numbers – Howard, with less than two weeks left in the NBA regular season, is shooting a career worse 48.6% from the line; 316 out of 646. As you might have guessed, he is one of the worst free throw shooters in the NBA, which is quite wasteful for the Lakers. Howard reaches the free throw line 9.4 times per game. He is second in the NBA, just behind James Harden, in trips per game to the line, costing the Lakers between 4-5 points each game.

Meanwhile, there is teammate Steve Nash, currently injured as the Lakers are making their final push towards the postseason and that final ticket. Nash is a career 90.4% shooter from the line, although he doesn’t make the trip to the free throw quite as often, averaging 2.8 free throw attempts per game in his career and 2.3 this season. He is 92.2% from the line this season, missing only nine shots of his 116 attempts.

In his career, which began in 1996? Nash has attempted 3360 shots from the line, making 3038 of them. Howard, with 330 misses this season, beats Nash’s 322, with Nash averaging only 18.9 misses per season. Howard is one of only three NBA players (along with Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal) to shoot below 50% from the line in an NBA season while attempts at least nine shots from the line per game. Chamberlain has five such seasons, Shaq has four, Howard is currently at 2.