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Olajuwon describes Dwight Howard as “very raw”

Aug 15, 2013, 11:46 AM EDT

Newly signed Houston Rockets player Dwight Howard during news conference in Houston Reuters

Houston has Kevin McHale as coach and hired Hakeem Olajuwon because they have two quality NBA big men — Dwight Howard and Omer Asik — who both can score but are not exactly polished on the offensive end. Particularly their new anchor, Howard.

Actually, Olajuwon was blunt in assessing Howard that speaking with, saying Howard was “very raw.”

“As good as he is right now, he’s still very raw. But he has all the tools so I’m like a kid in a candy store. That’s why we give him the fundamentals of these moves. There’s a rhythm. And once he sees it, then it’s easier to emulate and then incorporate with power. He has the power. Now we’re adding finesse to the power.

“The best big men in the game – they’re game-changers. That’s what he is. And he’s in the right situation where the coach understands it, he demands it, and Dwight can give it.”

Howard worked out with McHale and Olajuwon this week and the focus was footwork.

But more than that it was about having a plan — when you get the ball in the post have a plan of attack, with counters to go respond to what the defense does. It was the mental aspect Olajuwon focused on, he said.

The mental aspect will be key to Howard — he says he wants McHale and Olajuwon and his teammates to hold him accountable. But he has shown in his last couple stops to be a person he needs a lot of positive reinforcement. How does he handle the inevitable criticism? How does he handle the adversity that will come to him and the Rockets as he does everyone?

Has he matured through the last two seasons and is Houston the setting where he can deal with this better? If so, the Rockets are very dangerous. If not, well, he can’t force his way out of town again.

  1. jimeejohnson - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    What’s especially interesting is Hakeem started playing basketball at a relatively late age. For him to say Howard’s “raw” means a lot. I’m not pro or anti-Howard but he needs to step up his game to enhance the Houston Rockets. We shall see if he truly is a slouch or a superman.

    • legend30 - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      He will never be superman that belongs to Shaq, however, he can be mermaid man or barnacle boy.

  2. raiderdan69 - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    To the guy who even had the audacity to mention dwights name in the same sentence as hakeems…whether dwights shooting percentage is high or not is irrelevant when he never scores from further away than 1 foot from the basket. hakeem could drop a spinning contested fadeaway from 15 feet at almost yhe same clip d12’s hitting

  3. lhollis74 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    I’m a lakers fan and I think Howard will improve, he has to, his legacy is dependent upon what happens from here on. Yes, I was disappointed in him about so many things, but being objective I tend to believe he will do everything in his power to lead his team as far as possible. With that said, I doubt he’ll win a title, unless they acquire another significant player, which will be tough, cuz look at the western conference. Unfortunately for him, his sight was short term, history will not be kind to him if he doesn’t win a title. Although Patrick Ewing didnt win a title, he’s very respected for shouldering the pressure of NY, never requesting a trade and being a strong leader. Howard has already asked to be traded, left a major market, not been much of a leader, 10 years in with no post moves. I wish him him the best, cuz I’m not a hater and I’d like the vitriol towards him to cease cause the nba is a job and I fully understand being good at one thing but having a passion for something else. Only time will tell…

  4. jerrylai96 - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    There are athletes who play basketball, and then there are basketball players. Players like Nash and Kobe are basketball players (who hone their craft and have legit basketball skills). Howard, on the other hand, is definitely an athlete who plays basketball. He doesn’t have many legit fundamentals or skills on offense, and he relies on his athleticism to be a top player. However because he lacks fundamentals and a refined skillset he cannot reach the level players like Kobe (both), LeBron (both) or even Nash (basketball player) have.

    • jerrylai96 - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:25 AM

      Basketball players as defined above aren’t necessarily athletic, but their skills keep them in the league. The greats are both.

  5. zzztknk - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    If Lin or Harden can get Howard a couple of easy dunks or layups at the beginning of the game then that too helps a big man like Howard find his rhythm. It’s like with anything else, early success or confidence can get you rolling. Even smart football coaches try to make a kicker’s first field goal a chip shot to boost his confidence. Any player will tell you confidence is a big thing in sports.

  6. zzztknk - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    McHale likes to run the fast-break and the fast-break is where Howard dominates all big man today is his ability to run the floor. So I expect to see quite a different Howard this year!

    • legend30 - Aug 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      So the same offensive scheme as Pringles from last season? Yeah, that worked out tremendously!

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 16, 2013 at 8:09 PM

        except everyone else on the floor was really old. Though I suppose Howard could have rebounded the missed shot, passed to himself on the wing, then thrown the alley oop to himself by the rim, and his 4 teammates could high five him when he jogged back to half-court.

  7. zenball2013 - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    There is a saying about old dogs learning new tricks, and I think that applies here perfectly, going on year ten in the league and still considered to be very raw, he has gotten by on his power and athletic prowess which has started to decline and will continue to with every injury. But if I were a Rockets fan I would be upset with Hakeem for stating this as Dwight’s psyche is as fragile as glass.

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