An Update on Dwight Howard and Hakeem Olajuwon | Magic Basketball

«

»

Aug 03

An Update on Dwight Howard and Hakeem Olajuwon

Photobucket

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel:

Hakeem Olajuwon called Dwight Howard a scaredy cat.

His exact term was “afraid,” but still, calling out a big man like that is usually “fightin’ werds.”

Howard didn’t flinch. He listened, took things to heart.

Fabulous.

I don’t know if Howard’s mentoring hook-up with Hakeem will be much ado about nothing or a pivotal turning point in his career. It’s certainly has made for some frisky blogosphere chatter about Hakeem’s influence on Howard, the scope of Patrick Ewing‘s ability to make Howard a better player, and whether Howard himself is committed to the cause.

We’ll find out shortly when the invites roll out for a new downtown arena, future home of the Orlando Magic and their championship dreams.

Right now, there’s good reason to be pumped up about the prospects. […]

Howard said he worked with Hakeem for a week this offseason in Houston. They will connect again shortly as part of a team for the Basketball without Borders program in Senegal. Given the comparisons to ninjas and assassinations, it’s obvious that Hakeem is playing head games with Howard, in a very good way.

Another Hakeem Olajuwon update.

Unlike the Chris Paul rumors that are dormant for the time being, Howard teaming up with Olajuwon is a reality and not a dream. Howard has already spent time with Olajuwon in Houston, and it appears that he will continue to work with him as he heads off to Senegal for the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program.

For Magic fans, that’s music to their ears.

It’s no secret that the Eastern Conference has gotten considerably stronger in the off-season. The East is no longer top-heavy, with the emergence of the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls entering the fray as credible threats. The point is, the Orlando Magic will have a tough time trying to return to the NBA Finals.

And this is where Howard comes into play.

Given what’s at stake for the Magic, Howard must take his game to the next level if he wants to lead his team to the promised land. Howard is the best defensive player in the NBA, but there’s no question that he needs to be equally as dominant on offense for Orlando to get where they want to go. Olajuwon’s wisdom is invaluable, in this case, because he’s been telling Howard not to be afraid to use his full arsenal of moves and not hesitate from doing anything on the floor — this is where the ninja analogy enters the discussion. Howard proved a lot in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, averaging 22 points per game against Kendrick Perkins as well as Rasheed Wallace (two players he’s struggled to score against in the past) and having moments of brilliance. The hope for Howard, with the help of Olajuwon, is that he carries that momentum to next season and unleashes his fury on the league.

Howard is so close to reaching his zenith.

Can Howard fully evolve into a devastating two-way player? We’ll find out soon enough.

6 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Billy (slickw143)

It's definitely a confidence problem, not a commitment issue.

@Ryan

Yeah, that can be a problem sometimes. But I think Howard took care of that issue as the season wore on, and he demanded the basketball more. That's one of the few times I applauded Howard's selfishness because he needed to be.

@Alex

Indeed.

Alex
Alex

This and the J-Will signing are both great news.

Ryan
Ryan

Bill, your right it is a confidence thing. Dwight said that Hakeem told him that he afraid to do anything on the court I thought that that was the problem all along. Also I hope Hakeem helps him with ball handling too. Another problem is when the Magic dont give him enough touches and forget he's on the court that could be why he doesn't a lot of confidence.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

I think it's more of a confidence thing than it is a commitment thing. He doesn't trust his moves sometimes and just resorts to trying to power through when things don't work exactly as he wants them to. It's a maturity thing that hopefully he'll develop sooner rather than later.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Raptor

I completely disagree. I've seen, first-hand, Howard's commitment to improving as a basketball player. Sorry, but your comment is uninformed.

Raptor
Raptor

I think Dwight's biggest problem is himself... I don't know if he's really that passionate about hard working basketball as he says/as he could be. He always seems like he's just saying the "right things" to get rid of the press. He has some obvious flaws that aren't that hard to correct in my opinion, especially when that's your job.