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Kobe pushing Howard to be more complete offensive player

Oct 22, 2012, 4:40 PM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

There’s still a reputation among some that “all Dwight Howard can do is dunk.”

It’s wrong. First, the basic premise that “all this guy can do is get the most efficient shot in basketball on a regular basis” and somehow that makes him a bad offensive player is flawed. But beyond that, anybody who has watched Howard play in more than highlights the past three years would know he has diversified his offensive game. He has jump hooks from the block, a running hook, he’s worked on a midrange game and more.

But for Kobe Bryant, it’s not enough.

There was an interesting note on the Bryant/Howard relationship from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports in his post on Howard’s first game as a Laker (which we covered as well).

Yet Bryant has gone out of his way to push Howard to become a far more complete offensive player, to, in his words, “challenge him to do more than just screen-and-roll and dunk. We want opposing teams to see him as a dominant force.”

Howard as the anchor in the offense is going to open up things for Bryant and Pau Gasol (and Metta World Peace, for that matter). Steve Nash has the best pick-and-roll partner he has had probably since Amare Stoudemire. There are a lot of options.

But Kobe wants to maximize that potential because… well, he’s Kobe Bryant. There is no such thing as “good enough.

And that’s the lesson Kobe wants to impart about winning a title as a Laker (or, really anywhere). However hard you think it is, however far you think you need to push yourself, there is one more step. We’ll see if it sinks in.

  1. manchestermiracle - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Howard will get plenty of chances in the offense without radically altering his game. I’d much rather see the other LAKERS step up their defense to match Howard’s.

  2. michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Regardless of Dwight Howard’s offensive repertoire he will be a great fit for the Lakers. Kobe & Nash are slow, terrible defenders and will need a lot of backup in the paint. Help defense in the paint just so happens to be exactly what Howard does best. As long as the team stays healthy and Kobe & Nash figure out how to share the ball they will be great.

    • mytthor - Oct 23, 2012 at 1:48 AM

      Kobe Bryant is a slow, terrible defender? I’ll be the first to admit that he’s overrated, and he’s much better on the ball than off it, but the guy’s been on all-defensive teams for the last 10 years.

      • michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        Maybe it wasn’t fair to pair Kobe with Nash in terms of defensive ineptitude. Nash gets embarrassed by any quick guard like Westbrook and Rondo (agility quickness). Kobe used to be a very aggressive defender who bullied most opposing guards into a poor shooting night. Unfortunately for the Lakers he no longer has the lateral quickness to stay in front of his man on the perimeter. He shouldn’t be making all-defensive teams at this point. But now he has a one-man wrecking crew behind him in Howard. Lakers ought to be great on O & D this year.

  3. scalfor3 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    “all this guy can do is get the most efficient shot in basketball on a regular basis” and somehow that makes him a bad offensive player is flawed.

    This is a flawed defense. Getting alot of dunks is obviously good offense, but there’s no denying that he would be a better if he had a more diverse and natural post game. That’s not saying he’s a bad offensive player, he clearly isn’t. Just that, especially considering the lack of center talent around the league, he should be more dominant than he is. He should be scoring 30 a game against the scrubs he goes against most of the time.

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