Saturday, April 16, 2011
Can Brendan Haywood be trusted at line?
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Here's coach Rick Carlisle's dilemma: It's early in the fourth quarter of a close game and starting center Tyson Chandler just picked up his fourth foul, and maybe even a fifth.
Carlisle has to get him out of the game to keep make sure Chandler is on the floor at crunch time. But Brendan Haywood, who will be counted on to guard Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge as well as box out rebounding machine Marcus Camby, is a liability on the offensive end because he simply can't be counted on to make a free throw. Twice during the regular season, an opposing coach turned to the Hack-a-Haywood tactic.
The big man is shooting an abysmal 36.2 percent from the free-throw line. He's been skimming the bottom of the barrel all season. And, if you're looking for some late-season free throw momentum, stop. Haywood is 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) over the last 11 games and 6-of-21 (28.6) in the last five games.
Haywood said if he's put on the line, he'll step up with confidence.
"I put a lot of work in the gym trying to get better at that. It’s been a struggle for me this season," Haywood said. "I got to go in there and be confident at the line and knock them in."