As the Plain-Dealer first reported and the Orlando Sentinel confirmed, the Orlando Magic have hired former NBA point guard Mark Price--the league's all time leader in free-throw accuracy, at 90.4 percent--as a player-development coach, with particular emphasis on shooting. It's a return to Orlando for Price, who retired in 1997/98 after his only season with the Magic and 14th season overall.
"He'll work a lot with guys on their shooting," Otis Smith, the Magic's President of Basketball Operations, told the Sentinel. "That's big for us. Hopefully, he can help Dwight [Howard] with his free throws and get his free-throw percentages up."
Free-throw shooting remains the All-Star center's most glaring offensive shortcoming, as he's shot between 58.6 percent and 59.6 percent from the stripe in each of his last six seasons. Price will work with Howard, but not exclusively, and he's not merely a free-throw coach. As Josh Robbins of the Sentinel reports, Orlando expects Price to help its shooters improve "coming off of screens, shooting on-balance and developing a quicker release."
Price's is a new position; he's not replacing anyone on Orlando's staff.
After the jump, a brief look at how Price may address the Magic's needs.
Range isn't a problem for Orlando. Since Stan Van Gundy took over as head coach prior to the 2007/08 season, Orlando has led the league in three-point attempts per game while converting at the third-best clip in the league.
Free throws are more of a concern, and have been for a while: Orlando's made just 71.4 percent of its foul shots since Van Gundy took over, far and away the worst figure in the league. Though Howard's high-volume, low-accuracy ways strongly weigh that number down, he's hardly the only Magic player to struggle at the line. Last season, three Magic players posted career-worst marks in free-throw accuracy: Hedo Turkoglu (66.7 percent), Gilbert Arenas (74.4 percent) and Chris Duhon (56 percent). In addition, Jason Richardson (70.1 percent) and Quentin Richardson (75 percent) shot worse at the line than what one might reasonably expect from a perimeter player.
What do you make of the Magic's newest addition?