May 31, 2011, 6:15 PM EDT
The big news surrounding Dwight Howard today has to do with where he may or may not be playing in future seasons, but Howard also dropped some news about how he plans to improve his game this summer. Here’s the report, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins:
In addition to traveling to Europe and Asia on adidas promotional tours and to Africa to donate a school, Howard said he plans to hire a shooting coach to help him improve his midrange game and his notoriously poor free-throw shooting.
Last year, Howard spent a few days in Texas working on his footwork and low-post moves with former Houston Rockets all-star Hakeem Olajuwon. Howard wants to work with Olajuwon more extensively this summer.
“I just want to become better,” Howard said. “I want to win a championship. I just felt bad losing in the first round and I just want to make sure that our team has a chance to win a championship next year.”
Howard’s free-throw shooting is an obvious Achilles’ heel, and improving it would make him much more effective: if Howard had shot 75% from the free throw line this season, he would have averaged nearly two more points per game. And while Howard’s post game turned into a legitimate strength last season, it’s still something of a work in progress, and adding a few more counter-moves never hurts.
A shooting coach isn’t a panacea: Rajon Rondo has worked with Mark Price in the past, to little effect, and Shaq had countless free-throw coaches throughout the years. Still, it’s good to see that Howard is going to attempt to do everything he can to shore up his biggest weaknesses and improve as a player.
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