Dwight is Not Hakeem

This doesn’t need to be said, does it? I sure hope not, but let’s make sure no one gets confused.

photo courtesy rockets.com/Jason Friedman

photo courtesy rockets.com/Jason Friedman

Dwight Howard is a highly decorated, highly athletic NBA beast. Hakeem Olajuwon is the same, just a retired version. As expected, the duo along with other members of the Houston Rockets staff, including head coach Kevin McHale, have already begun workouts in preparation for Howard’s “Rockets launch.”  When Jason Friedman, Rockets.com beat writer tweeted out the photo of the on court workout, it once again got fans wondering just how awesome and unstoppable Howard was about to become after these lessons.

I’ll say it, too – it would be tremendous if Howard started to play even a little like Dream on offense. But that is very, very unlikely. It’s the same point I’ve been making since the pursuit of Howard began. He’s entering his 10th season – he is what he is. When healthy, he is the best center in the NBA. In my opinion, clearly the biggest difference-maker in the paint in this league. Period. But an offensive force? A go-to, first-option player, like Olajuwon? I’m gonna again say no.

Expecting Howard to develop as an offensive player seems more like hope, than a real possibility. He’ll score off of effort and brute force, just like Shaquille O’Neal, or at least that what he should be trying to do. He’s not going to just flat out beat guys with his quickness in the blocks or with a wide-array of moves both with his back to and facing the basket, as Hakeem consistently did. Improvement with footwork, recognition of situations and maybe slightly quicker decision-making can be things that Dream passes on to Howard. Just don

‘t expect much else. Howard acknowledged as much, saying he’s not trying to emulate Olajuwon, but rather trying to pick up things, much smaller things, that could enhance his own game.

The offense should fit him well. It should be a lot like what he had around him in Orlando, except better, mainly because James Harden is significantly better than any teammate he had there. Who he is today, could very well be good enough to help guide Houston to a title. There have been questions about his motivation to work in the past and at least this early trip to the court, might suggest he is, as he says on his own twitter page, “After the ring!”

Dream is truly a one-of-a-kind offensive talent, arguably the most skilled offensive shot maker from the post in league history. In other words he’s what Dwight is not. But a championship…or two…could certainly make them seem similar enough.

– Wex (@awexler)

I posted this video awhile back, but I’ll re-post it here, because the draft express crew did such a great job analyzing Howard’s game.

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