Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Analogies that illuminate Dwight Howard’s free-throw woes
A candidate in a tight race has much greater confidence in a poll with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points than a poll so flawed that its margin of error stretches 12 points in each direction. Well, a free-throw stroke that consistently produces a shot that travels about 15 feet, plus or minus three inches, is far more accurate than one whose margin of distance-related error is plus or minus 12 inches. If you’ve watched Howard shoot free throws, you know his directional accuracy is pretty good but that he has no idea how far the ball is going to travel.

As I’ve explained before, Howard was a fine free-throw shooter until his second pro season, when the Magic’s coaching staff started monkeying around with his shooting style.

Think of the Magic as Howard’s doctor and his stroke as his heart. A smart doctor will leave a healthy heart in the patient’s body. This doctor, however, removed Howard’s healthy heart, then compounded the blunder by replacing it with a diseased one! Howard’s putrid percentages, which have been even worse in the 2007 and 2008 playoffs and the Olympics than in the last three regular seasons, in which he never reached 60 percent, suggest that his body is rejecting the transplant even as his brain tries gamely to convince himself that all is well.

Stay tuned for an essay relating Howard’s free-throw saga to the monster created by Dr. Frankenstein.