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Olajuwon continues to work with Dwight Howard

Aug 3, 2010, 4:03 PM EDT

Dwight Howard.jpg

With the possibility that LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will cancel out each other’s MVP votes next season, the race has opened up a bit. 
If Kobe Bryant stays healthy all season and the Lakers win the West, there’s a great chance he’ll win his second MVP award. If Kevin Durant picks up where he left off last season and the Thunder compete for the top spot in the West, he could win it. However, Dwight Howard may be the early favorite to win the award next season. 
Howard is right on the cusp of his first MVP award; his only major weaknesses at this point are his propensity for getting into foul trouble, his free throws, and a relative lack of diversity in his post game. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Howard is working on the latter by working with none other than Hakeem Olajuwon this off-season
Howard does seem very much engaged at the opportunity to work with Hakeem the Dream, one of the greatest centers in NBA history who developed a nice touch from the outside to complement his inside power.
“He made a comparison with a ninja and some other person who doesn’t care who they kill — they just go out and do it,” Howard said during a Monday media session at his annual basketball camp for kids at the UCF Arena . “Basically what he was saying is that I have to become a person who is not afraid to do anything on the floor. And he said right now only certain parts of my game that I’m not afraid to do, but other parts I am. I have to be able to do all those things.”

Everything about that quote works, and not just because it references ninjas. There are plenty of guys who can teach Olajuwon post moves, even the post moves Olajuwon himself used. The trick is finding a way to give Howard the confidence to actually use those moves in a game, which is what a great ex-player like Olajuwon can do for Howard. Howard has unmatched strength and explosiveness for a big man, and he’s extremely comfortable using his left hand around the basket. If he can add some footwork and counter-moves to his arsenal, he could easily win his first MVP award next season. 

  1. Yosef - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    “Lack of diversity in his post game” What, you don’t like dunks and baby hooks?

  2. Jigz - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    I dunno, i kinda dissapointed in Howard. He worked out once with Hakeem for like 3 days at the end of the season, then he’ll work out with him before the season for a week…thats only 10 days of training the whole summer. He said other than that, hes been traveling. not working out, only pushups and situps, and def not shooting. I know that he should take a month off to let the body heal, but he doesnt need to be going to china, africa, india, he should be in a game, staring at a pic of that trophy, determined to carry his team to the promise land…

  3. yeah buddy - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    its about time, training with patrick ewing was not going to cut it

  4. johnmaine - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    favre’s retirement rumors hurt harvin and rice’s fantasy value: http://bit.ly/aXZeQL

  5. johnmaine - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    favre’s retirement rumors hurt harvin and rice’s fantasy value: http://bit.ly/aXZeQL

  6. Lopes - Aug 3, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Howard is overrated. Don’t get me wrong, he is an athletic talent and a defensive monster, but he has huge holes in his offensive game. His post game is lacking and he turns the ball over way too often. He is a great second banana, but he’s not an MVP caliber player that can summon his talent at will. He has a tendency to disappear when the pressure is on. That being said, he is fun to watch when he gets it going.

  7. Billy - Aug 3, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    “Howard led Orlando to a dominant run through the first two rounds of the playoffs, going 8-0 before running into the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. In a do-or-die Game 4, Dwight put up 32 points, 16 boards and 4 blocks, and averaged 27.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in three elimination games.”
    That’s from http://dimemag.com/2010/07/top-10-centers-of-2010/
    Just for all of the haters out there who think that Dwight “disappears when the pressure is on”. His biggest issue is just maintaining his composure and trusting his abilities when things aren’t working well. He falls back on his athleticism too much to try to force things to happen, which leads to the fouls on defense and the attempt to plow through players on offense. But he is most certainly an MVP candidate either way.

  8. stucktrader - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    we’ll see how he does… Kobe obviously benefited last year.
    there would be some irony, if Dwight keeps Wade/Lebron out of the Finals…

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