Tag Archives: Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard Working with Hakeem Olajuwon Again

Dwight Howard is seeking the help of Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon once again.  Although he is one of the best centers in the league Dwight still feels he could use a few more pointers.  Last summer Dwight Howard followed all-star center Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming’s route seeking help from Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon.  He worked on his footwork, his jump-hook, and mid-range bankshot, three areas he felt needed improvement.   Not a bad place to get pointers since the Dream is 9th in points,  11th in  rebounds, 8th in steals, and 1st in blocks on the all time list.  This summer Dwight is looking to improve the one area we’ve all noticed he needs help, his freethrows.  He’s shooting under 60% from the freethrow line whereas Olajuwon shot 71% from the line for his career and just under 80% at the highlight of his career.  Dwight hopes to raise his freethrow percentage to 75% and to continue to improve his mid-range shot.  Luckily he has Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing at his disposal.

NBA Lockout Has Players Stamping Their Passports

The NBA lockout hasn’t lasted nearly as long as the NFL lockout and already players are running for the hills or should I say overseas.  Deron Williams has signed a $5 million deal with Besiktas.  Williams will be playing in Turkey next season should the lockout continue.  He will be joining Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia who also has an agreement with the team.  There’s also Suns center Marcin Gortat who signed with Spartak Saint Petersburg in Russia.  Williams isn’t the only internationally known player who has shown interest in playing overseas; Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Ron Artest and even Kobe Bryant have rumors of shopping around to overseas teams.

Williams is a big market name and was able to secure himself an opt-out clause should the NBA season resume.  Other less known players such as the Raptors Sonny Weems and the Sixers Darius Songalia weren’t so lucky. Basically the NBA players are somewhat playing a game of russian roulette.  Players who go overseas risk getting an injury that can diminish value as a player, or even worse a career ending injury (albeit rare).  Insurance is available but is not so easily attainable and may cost a significant amount of money.  No one knows when the lockout will be over, there’s a possibility the entire 2011-12 season will be lost.  NBA players have a choice, either go and sign overseas contracts or wait it out.  The problem with waiting it out is that there’s a certain amount of spots available for americans in overseas basketball.  With big name players thrown into the mix the amount of money available will decrease as well.

A group of people that’s being overlooked are former NCAA basketball players and other street ballers who may have had the chance to play overseas but now those spots are being taken by NBA players.  For those guys who couldn’t make it into the NBA, overseas basketball is their second chance to develop their skills, and get seen all while earning a living.  As stated in my previous post about the layoffs, the NBA lockout is hurting a tremendous amount of people and something has to be done asap.

A New NBA (1st round surprises)

I wrote this for the newspaper I write for, figured I would share it with you guys since I haven’t been updating as much sorry it’s late.

The NBA playoffs have revealed a significant change in the league with the top teams being ousted and/or struggling, and the underdogs shining through.  For quite some time, there are certain teams who remained dominant such as the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Boston Celtics.  Well this year things have changed.

In a shocking series against the Dallas Mavericks, the two-time defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers were swept and booted from the playoffs in the second round.  Though the Mavericks and Lakers entered the postseason with the same record of 57-25, the Mavericks have been known to come up short quite a few times when it comes to the playoffs.  But now they are contending with what may be their best team yet.  With the addition of center Tyson Chandler adding strength and defense to the Mavs frontline, Jason Terry and Peja Stojavick nailing shots from behind the arc including Terry tying an NBA post season record of nine 3-pointers, Jason Kidd playing with young legs providing facilitation on the offense, and the Mavs unguardable superstar Dirk Nowitzki all proved to be too much for the Lakers to handle.  In game 4 of the series the Mavericks won in a shocking blowout of 122-86, not only ending the Lakers season but also sending the legendary coach Phil Jackson off on a bad note, as that was his last game as an NBA coach.

The Lakers rival, the Eastern Conference defending champions the Boston Celtics, also were eliminated in the second round.  The Celtics lost to the new “Big Three”, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.  Despite criticism of Lebron’s lack of a clutch gene, Bosh not being a dominant big man, and Wade not taking over as the go to guy, the Heat were able to get it together and oust the Celtics in a five game series.

Another surprise in the playoffs was the Atlanta Hawks.  The Hawks have proven themselves to be an inconsistent team with a lackluster star in Joe Johnson.  After being swept in the Eastern Conference semifinals two years in a row, the Hawks finally got their revenge and eliminated the Orlando Magic in a six game series.  With Joe Johnson proving his worth, Jamal Crawford providing brilliant offense off the bench, and the addition of Kirk Hinrich, the Hawks were able to neutralize the Magic, shutting down everyone but Dwight Howard.  In the last game of the Orlando series Hinrich suffered a hamstring injury and was out for the rest of the playoffs.  Inserted in his place was Jeff Teague who turned out to play extremely well, helping the Hawks to claim two games against the Chicago Bulls before they lost in a six game series.

The biggest shocker of the playoffs has to be the Memphis Grizzlies.   The No. 8 seed from the Western Conference plays as if they should be way higher.  They stunned many people by eliminating the San Antonio Spurs, who held the #1 seed in the Western Conference and the best regular season record in the league.  The Grizzlies were the second No. 8 seed team in NBA history to defeat a No. 1 seed.  Coach Lionel Hollins who managed to outcoach the great Greg Popavich led them.  Hollins proved his ability to make adjustments and rotations, playing the strong points of his team and exposing the weakness of the opposition.  The addition of Tony Allen proved to be great for the Grizzlies defense, as well as defensive help from Mike Conley.  Their once weak bench became strong and incredibly helpful with big shots from Darrell Arthur, Greivis Vasquez, Shane Battier, and O.J. Mayo who became a starter.  The biggest contributor to the team was no doubt Zach Randolph.  Randolph made big shot after big shot, and showed superb decision-making ability.  Consistently racking up double doubles and working both ends of the court, Randolph led his team to not only defeat the Spurs but also taking the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games before they were eliminated.

This year’s playoffs have had no lack of excitement and surprises, and it’ll be interesting to see which team takes home the championship trophy and coveted rings. Four teams left to battle it out The Miami Heat, The Chicago Bulls, The Dallas Mavericks, and The Oklahoma City Thunder.

2009-2010 NBA Award Winners

Most Valuable Player

Winner Lebron James

For the second year in a row, Cleveland Cavalier’s superstar Lebron James has won the MVP title.  Winning two consecutive years makes him only the 10th NBA player to do so, with the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.  Having the best year statistically of his career LBJ averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists, not only getting his team to 60 wins AGAIN, but also the best record in the league.  Truly well a deserved title.

 

Defensive Player Of The Year

Winner Dwight Howard

Clearly ahead of the pack in this category, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic has been named Defensive Player Of the Year.  A dominant presence in the paint, many coaches dedicate time to figure out just how to get around him.  This season he led the league in rebounding, blocked shots, field goal percentage, and double doubles.  Howard has become the first player in league history to lead the league in rebounds, and FG % all in one season.  He also became the first player to lead the league in rebounding and block shots more than once, and the fifth player to lead the league in rebounding for three or more consecutive seasons.  All those stats and records alone prove his deserving of this title, hell even merely watching him on the court proves it all, a truly athletic individual.

Rookie Of The Year

Winner Tyreke Evans

This was clearly the year of breakout rookie guards such as Brandon Jennings scoring 55 pts in a game and the amazing Stephen Curry who clocked in 5 games with 30 points and 10 assists.  So why did Tyreke Evans receive the award?  It all came down to CONSISTENCY.  Throughout the entire season he was the only rookie to establish himself as a team leader with consistent stats.  Jennings appeared to hit a wall and had up and down stats, Curry’s run came too late in the season.  Evans became the fourth player in league history to average 20 points 5 assists and 5 rebounds in his rookie year.  He’s joined by Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and Lebron James, if that isn’t impressive company then I don’t know what is…

Sixth Man of the Year

Winner Jamal Crawford

After seven long seasons on losing teams Jamal Crawford has finally seen the light that is the playoffs and a Sixth Man of the Year award to go along with it.  This award and postseason action is surely a breath of fresh air after recently being named the longest active player to never play in a playoff game.  Well after much searching Crawford has finally found his role and has been amazing off the bench averaging 18ppg and shooting 38.2% from behind the arc, helping to secure his team the Atlanta Hawks the #3 seed in the East.

Most Improved Player

Winner Aaron Brooks

With a team going through so much, Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman turned to guard Aaron Brooks and he definitely stepped up to the plate.  With injury to Yao Ming, and the turmoil, injury, and trade of Tracy McGrady, Brooks certainly had a lot of ground to cover.  Brooks came into this season averaging a mere 8.8 ppg and totally demolished that,  finishing up with 19.6 ppg 5.3 asts and 2.6 rebs.  Constantly improving throughout his career, he took a huge jump this season we’ll see where he is next season.

Coach of the Year

Winner Scott Brooks

Coaching the youngest team in the league Scott Brooks has one of the greatest turnarounds getting the Oklahoma City Thunder 27 more wins than last season.  If that’s not enough, not only did they win 50 games they also made the playoffs  measuring up with the tough teams in the Western Conference.  The Thunder’s playoff run is the first to come to the franchise since they moved from Seattle.  Brooks decisive thinking including moving Kevin Durant from shooting guard to small forward, and his consistency, humility, and control over his players has garnered him with the title of Coach of the Year.

Shake Ups In the All Star Roster Kobe, Iverson OUT

Injuries has caused quite a stir up in the 2010 All Star roster. Due to knee injury Chris Paul(NO) will be replaced by Chauncey Billups(Den), and Brandon Roy(Por) who’s out with a hamstring injury will be replaced by Chris Kaman(LAC).  Bigger news tho is the loss of Allen Iverson(Phi) and Kobe Bryant(LAL).  Although Iverson was voted in by the fans with over a million votes, us REAL NBA fans knew he didn’t really belong.  Iverson who can’t take part due to an ill child, will be replaced by David Lee(NYK).  Kobe Bryant who suffered an ankle injury, has missed the last 3 Laker games and has officially withdrawn from the All Star game.  Bryant will be replaced by Jason Kidd(Dal).  Monta Ellis(GS) was definitely a contender to replace Bryant but suffered a knee strain.  The loss of Bryant is definitely a big blow to the game but I got my wish of seeing Chris Kaman and David Lee in, they clearly deserved it.  All injury replacements are chosen by NBA Commissioner David Stern, but the starters to replace the injured are chosen by West coach George Karl and East coach Stan Van Gundy.  Karl has decided to start Nowitzki in place of Bryant and he will be defending Lebron James, hmmm interesting, since Dirk isn’t a guard… Nowitzki will join Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony in the West’s starting five.  It’s anticipated that either Rajon Rondo or Joe Johnson will replace Allen Iverson in the East starting five; which consists of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Garnett, and Dwight Howard.