Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has created some buzz with the pair of jumpers he made against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. He kept the buzz going by working on his mid-range jumpers for 45 minutes after practice on Thursday — with the media watching.
“I just made some shots, and I’m going to keep shooting,” Howard said. “Look, if you work on stuff, it’s going to happen for you sooner or later.”
During Thursday’s session, Patrick Ewing threw Howard entry passes and Daniel Orton rebounded. Howard shot jumpers from both elbows, bank shots from the wings and turn-around jumpers while fading away.
He made more shots than he missed, at one time making seven jumpers in a row.
The league might be introduced to a new Dwight Howard this season.
“It’s great to try and expand your game, and I think that will make him a better player in the long run, and that’s great,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “As long as he keeps his primary focus on the things we need him to do, defense and rebounding.”
Just to put things in perspective because it’s worth pointing out, I posted a now-infamous YouTube video on this platform — of Dwight Howard working out with Hakeem Olajuwon when they met up in Houston during the off-season — at noon two days ago and proceeded to have the second busiest day ever at Magic Basketball in terms of unique visitors (the busiest was the day I published “The Tracy McGrady Manifesto” on August 4).
One way or the other, people care about Howard’s development on offense.
To some, it’s an obsession.
And for Magic fans, after witnessing Howard make two mid-range jumpshots with relative ease against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, hysteria surrounding his jumper is reaching critical mass after the Orlando Magic’s official team website posted footage yesterday of him making shot after shot after shot. One minute, Howard is Tim Duncan. Another minute, Howard is Horace Grant.
Sure, it’s one game, it’s one practice, but we may very well be seeing Howard evolve into the player that everyone expected him to be. Again, and it bears repeating, it’s still early and passing judgment on this new development is premature, but it’s hard not to get excited about what is happening with Howard as the NBA regular season gets ready to kick off soon.
Howard is taking Hakeem Olajuwon’s advice, of not being afraid to unleash his skills on offense for fear of failure, and following it judiciously. When Howard was matched up against Yao Ming or Chuck Hayes or whoever else in the Magic’s pre-season game against the Rockets, he wasn’t thinking out there, he was playing. Howard was letting his instincts take over.
If Howard can continue on this trend, then the NBA landscape is going to change.
And the rest of the league will be on notice. Yes, even the Miami Heat.