Nov 9, 2010, 9:48 AM EDT
We saw it on display a little opening night against the Wizards. Monday night in tight game against the Atlanta Hawks Howard went to it in the clutch, a little Duncanesque bank shot from 12 feet (he missed that one, but has made plenty this season).
Dwight Howard has developed a little midrange jumper. Something people have been asking him to do for years has become a reality.
Last season, Howard averaged 3.6 shots per game from just away from the rim to 10 feet out, and he hit 44.8 percent of those shots (stats from Hoopdata). This season he is averaging 5.6 shots from that range and hitting 60.7 percent of them.
From 10 to 15 feet he is averaging 2 shots a game this season (up from half a shot per game last season) and is hitting 50 percent of those shots now (up from 37.8 percent). It’s not a huge sample size yet, but he’s been pretty consistent this season.
Before, you begged him to face up and take that little shot, now you have to step out on him and defend him.
It’s something Howard needed because getting deep post position has long been Howard’s weakness. While he has a strong upper body and incredible quickness for his size, his smaller legs and lower body have made it hard for him to root out deep position that guys like Shaquille O’Neal made a living on (Shaq was plenty quick, too).
Now, you have to step out on him and he can use that quickness. And he can still drive by you, he can still dunk.
What’s more it has made Howard more involved in the offense — his usage rate is now up to 32 percent, up from 26 last season. They are going to him more, he is doing more with it.
Monday night Howard took 11 shots from just off the rim to 10 feet out — and he hit six.
Howard has more of a post game than he gets credit for — it’s not Hakeem but it’s not one note either. And with a midrange jumper that you have to respect, he has become a lot more dangerous.
And the Magic just got better because of it.
- Shaq to Kobe on podcast: “I just want people to know that I don’t hate you” 17
- D’Angelo Russell on Tracy McGrady tweet: “Some Lakers fans are spoiled” 25
- Anthony Davis “definitely” plans on shooting more threes this season 4
- Jim Buss defends Byron Scott as Lakers coach, “He has the Laker blood in him” 24
- Jim Buss open to the idea of Kobe Bryant playing beyond this season 32
- Derrick Rose on sexual assault suit: “I am confident I will be proven innocent” 4
- Report: Kyrie Irving likely not back opening night, could be out until January 14
- Legendary Sixer, backboard-shattering dunker Darryl Dawkins dies at 58 14