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Old 01-11-2008, 08:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
Dr. J. Naismith
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Default Dave Hopla the Rockstar

WOW .... its not too often you see shooting coaches get their own articles in big publications such as Sports Illustrated. Oh how we miss you Dave and good on ya in helping a team in which some thought were done when their "franchise" went down for the count.

Originally Posted by SI.com
Entering Thursday, the Wizards were tied for third in the NBA in free-throw shooting percentage at 79, an improvement on last season's 76.5 and on pace to break the franchise record. The only teams with better percentages are the Dallas Mavericks, who employ a full-time free-throw coach, and the Raptors.

The Wizards also have higher field-goal and 3-point shooting percentages than in 2006-07, which could help explain why they are in the thick of things in the East despite a host of injuries that include losing Arenas to knee surgery.

Given the importance of putting the ball in the net, one might think all of the NBA's 30 teams would have a shooting coach. After all, all Major League Baseball teams have batting coaches and pitching coaches and bullpen coaches. But fewer than half of the NBA's clubs have someone teaching shooting full-time.

Note these numbers: Seven of the top eight teams in the Western Conference employ a shooting coach. None of the seven worst teams in the Eastern Conference does...

The Wizards didn't have such a coach last season, when Brendan Haywood, for example, dipped to 54.8 percent on free throws, putting his career average below 60 percent. After a few months with Hopla, Haywood is at 71.5 percent. Caron Butler's shooting percentages are at career-best levels on field goals (49., 3s (40.9) and free throws (88.7).
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