Dwight Howard to Work With Hakeem Olajuwon in the Off-Season | Magic Basketball

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Jun 03

Dwight Howard to Work With Hakeem Olajuwon in the Off-Season

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Some help might come from former Houston Rockets all-star Hakeem Olajuwon, who spoke with [Dwight] Howard during the Eastern Conference finals. Olajuwon has made himself available to NBA players in recent years; he even spent some time last summer working with Kobe Bryant to help Bryant to develop his low-post game.

“In the next couple of weeks, we will see each other,” Howard said of Olajuwon. “I just can’t wait to go up there. He’s a great guy. He had a lot of great things to say. I’m just looking forward to having the chance to work with him.”

[Orlando] Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Howard made big strides as a leader during the last three games of the Eastern Conference finals. Van Gundy also liked that Howard’s repertoire on offense widened during the regular season.

This bit of news is a few days old, but it’s deserves more attention.

For years, Magic fans have hoped that Dwight Howard would craft his game with the help of Hakeem Olajuwon, at some point in his career.

Wish granted.

20 comments
jax502
jax502

@landonheart81
Larry Bird as free throw coach...oh wait they do have JJ. JJ help out Dwight will ya? :)

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Tim McCormack

Acquiring David Lee would be nearly impossible, given that a sign-and-trade would be difficult to pull off with the Knicks. There's no way the Magic would be able to sign Lee in free agency. As for Lewis, he's more of a defensive liability at SF, end of story. Lewis will have troubles here and there with opposing PF's, but for the most part he does a good job of defending them because he doesn't have to worry about them beating him off the dribble.

Tim McCormack
Tim McCormack

As far as the PF debate goes I think the magic would be best served trying to grab David Lee and letting someone else grab Gortat, maybe Detroit who needs a lot of help up front for prince if he's healthy? I like David Lee because he would give us a ton of flexibility in the front court, can play a strong traditional game, sub in for center, or play out on the perimeter. Plus he can funcution as a playmaker, giving us another look besides either tossing it Dwight on the low-block or having Jameer run the pick and roll. To me he would give us what Turk gave us but at an All-Star level. As far as Rashard's defensive liability at SF I don't think it's as large as concern here as in Seattle, since he just has to funnel his man towards Dwight if he gets beat off the dribble. At times he's been a defensive liability at PF, he's a low rebounder, and Otis must not have been too worried about his defensive liability at the 3 since that was what he was expecting him to play when he signed him to that huge contract. But that's why I love Lee is that Rashard could get in time at both.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Will

I'm not trying to start a petty argument, just stating my opinion. No need to be overly defensive. I welcome different opinions on this site, even if I don't agree with them. The whole point is to discuss the Magic in an educated manner, which is what we're doing. I've enjoyed the discussions you've started.

Will
Will

Now I love that you use numbers a lot but sometimes it isn't about HOW many but WHEN. This obviously makes me a hypocrite because I just said Bass' numbers were great. . .but it seemed that he got the rebounds when it mattered and his energy was great. I watched 87 of the 96 games we played this year and when Bass was in he seemed to hit the shots and grab an offensive rebound when needed. So yes, I was wrong about the % of rebounds he got. . .but he always seemed to get one or two at a good time. Sometimes 11% just doesn't explain an impact on a game.

I never said Bass WAS the reason why we won Games 4 and 5. . .I'm not that dumb. . .I meant to say that his power, his knack for those rebounds, and his career high shooting % helped boost the team against the very Bass like bigs on Boston. I'm not ignoring Howard and Nelson's contributions.

Posting on this site is frustrating because it seems when I post one thing wrong I get destroyed for that one thing. . .and you ignore the other points I make (still waiting on comments regarding Lee and Vince, our problems with physical teams (three years running we've been eliminated by big teams), Gortat's efforts, our maxed out finesse, etc.). Also, every time I say something it is assumed I am too stupid to understand OTHER aspects of the game. We did this in the best point guard discussion awhile back (remember, the one where I was called foolish) because I said Billups took a number of (at the time) has-beens and cast offs and made them all-stars and champions. . .somehow that translated into all the Pistons are, currently, cast off and has-beens. Not the case. Rip was rejected in Washington, Wallace and Billups were cast off in Orlando, who the hell knew who Prince was etc. My sentences aren't being read. . .

Same situation here: if I said Bass was the ONLY reason why we beat Boston twice then put me in the stocks because I would, indeed, be legally retarded. It seemed that in THAT situation, we needed a strong PF like Bass to bang and it helped. Bass hardly played in the important minutes in Games 1, 2, 3 and 6. . .all losses. Coincidence. . .I guess. . .the % weren't there so I'm probably wrong because numbers say it all.

In regards to Lewis. . .I was commenting on two things: one, since Turk is gone I preferred Lewis as a SF and I noted DEPENDING ON THE MATCHUP. Yeah, some SFs are going to burn him but Lewis would just as equally be detrimental to a 6' 5 three's defense if he's got height, post up AND threes. He has to fill in the gap for Turk since Vince is a completely different player.

I don't want to be a troll but I've had my fill of being called foolish on here and ripped apart for a few mistakes. I'm a massive Orlando fan but getting in fights with fellow fans is just not my bag and I don't like to be misread. So I'll keep reading. . .it was nice playing along for a bit but I'm out.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Will

That's the thing, Lewis isn't a better fit at SF. Lewis is a defensive liability at the position ... this was proven long ago in Seattle and nothing has changed. At his best, though, Lewis is a net positive when he's guarding opposing PF's because he doesn't have to worry about running shooters off the three-point line or maneuvering through screens when a player is trying to get open. Lewis isn't fast, yet it doesn't matter when he's facing off against other PF's.

As for Bass, his rebound rate was incredible? No, it wasn't. Bass' defensive rebound percentage was 11.9 percent in the limited minutes he saw in the playoffs. Anderson barely played more than Bass in the postseason, yet his number was much higher -- 21.7 percent. Bass isn't a good rebounder. Matt Barnes is a better rebounder! The reason why the Magic won Games 4 and 5 wasn't because of Bass. It was because Howard and Nelson were dominant.

I'm all for posting up Lewis more on the low block. But I'm not supportive of changing an identity that has been successful for Orlando the past few years. And even if the Magic did get a traditional power forward, Bass isn't the answer. Neither is Gortat, for that matter.

Will
Will

We already over-reacted once and gave away a large chunk of our defensive success in Courtney Lee and a SOLID back up point guard in Skip by getting Vince Carter. Vince didn't quit on us like I thought he would at the beginning of the season but the results speak for themselves: we didn't get as far as before and went backward.

I agree Rashard is a PF and Landon pointed it out that Rashard is a better fit at SF (which I tend to agree with, depending on the match-up). Bass was incredible for this system. . .his rebound rate and FG% was superb for the limited time he played and his energy was fantastic. It's not a coincidence that the two games we won in the ECFs happened because Bass played significant minutes.

I don't mind spicing things up. Its clear that the Magic's biggest problem, Dwight aside, is that we've been bullied (2008 semis with a tough Pistons team, 2009 with an awakened giant in LA, and this year with the bully of bully's: the Celtics). A traditional PF, especially a frickin' horse like Bass, would give us some more bulk and power. Gortat did great in the Celtics series with the o-boards and his energy/intensity.

We've got finesse up and down the bench. . .a traditional PF might give us some metaphorical fists to punch some holes in tougher teams.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@landonheart81, @Will

Actually, the Magic do have a power forward ... his name is Rashard Lewis. Not sure why people are so obsessed with Orlando acquiring a traditional power forward when it's clear that a player like Bass doesn't fit well in the system, plus he's always struggling picking up the team's defensive schemes. Lewis doesn't belong at small forward. That doesn't fix the problem, Lewis just needs to be utilized more on the low block. The Magic have experienced almost unparalleled success with the way they're currently constructed. I think it'd behoove the franchise if they overreacted (which head coach Otis Smith won't do) and fix something that isn't really broken. Orlando doesn't NEED a power forward. If anything, the Magic need an elite wing player that is younger and better than Vince Carter in the next year or two.

Raptor
Raptor

@landonheart81
Kareem?

Will
Will

His name is Brandon Bass. . .but SVG never plays him! ARGH!!!!!

landonheart81
landonheart81

All the Magic need is a power forward, like back in 95 when the Magic added Horace Grant to fit the puzzle. That way Rashard can go back to small forward where the belongs, and the Magic get their height back.

landonheart81
landonheart81

I also agree with will, and don't any ever tell me that you can't win a championship without your center shooting free throws, Shaq is a example to that theory being inaccurate. I'll take Dwight's blocks and rebounds over a higher free throw percentage.

landonheart81
landonheart81

Just a turnaround fade-away jumper like Ewing, and Olajuwon both had would be a nice addition for Dwight. This is going to be awesome...Ewing, and Olajuwon getting Howard better..what a coaching staff..lol Who next? David Robinson?

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Billy (slickw143)

I'll never forget his game-winning tip-in in Game 1.

@chiefs_55

That'd be nice, though I'm not sure if Howard will incorporate the "Dream Shake" in his offensive repertoire any time soon.

@Will

There's no doubt that Howard improved on the low block this year. But it definitely doesn't hurt working with Hakeem if he has the opportunity to do so. As for his free-throw shooting, I think people need to realize he's a 60% shooter ... end of story. It's very rare for a player to dramatically improve at the free-throw line after playing a number of years in the NBA.

@Billy (slickw143)

I think Hakeem could help Howard incorporate more of a finesse game, as well as develop a go-to move in the post, but we'll see.

@Adolfo

I think Howard's hooks are fine, even if they don't look smooth sometimes. As for Howard's free-throw shooting, read my comment above.

Adolfo
Adolfo

I think this wil be a HUGE contribution to Dwight game... he does have the moves but some times he doesn't have the "soft touch" at the releasing time and his hook needs some improvement too... totally agree with the free throws...

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

I agree with a lot of that. Dwight did have an improved offense this year, showed off a wide array of moves. But he didn't use them enough. Maybe Hakeem can help him trust some of the moves he has more often, or just approach the game with a different mindframe. I love Patrick, but Hakeem was a mean son of a gun, people forget that. Very quietly intense dude and maybe Dwight can benefit from seeing a different approach.

I don't think he's going to be dream shaking anytime soon (ever?), but just being aware of how many options he has and when to use them would improve his offensive game dramatically.

Will
Will

Am I the only person who thought Dwight improved DRAMATICALLY with his offense this year? Is there a need for improvement: absolutely. But I see the only thing as detrimental is his free throw shooting.

I thought his hooks and movements were better and thank the all mighty he doesn't bring the ball down after an offensive rebound. He's putting balls back in, being more patient, and making people hack him. Also, his passing has improved dramatically. He has been able to spot players better. . .if not for the Magic's great extra passing, Dwight's assists per game might have gone up a couple of ticks.

I think working with Olajuwon is fine but Olajuwon was a one of a kind center. . .I don't see anyone complaining about Shaq having limited range. Dwight should stick to the basics. Adding more facets to his game could be more a detriment then anything else. He doesn't HAVE to hit jump shots and fades. Olajuwon should help him with some hooks and movements though.

AND FREE THROWS. If he can get free throws up to 70% or so, maybe he won't get hacked so much.

chiefs_55
chiefs_55

Hakeem the dream needs to teach that "dream shake" w/head fake and hook!

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Hakeem owes us this much. Especially considering how he ripped our hearts out in '95.