Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 10:00 am  |  66 responses

SVG: Hakeem Got Too Much Credit for Dwight’s Improvement

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

When footage of Hakeem Olajuwon going through drills with the previously offensively-challenged Dwight Howard surfaced, the basketball world went nuts.

Fans and media got even more excited once Howard’s game showed dramatic improvement after a few games, as everyone sung praises for Hakeem’s Yoda-like teachings.

Well, nearly everyone.

The always delightfully grouchy Stan Van Gundy thinks far too much was made of the Olajuwon/Howard session, and would like for his assistant coach Patrick Ewing to get a bit more credit for working with Dwight every day.

From FanHouse:

“This isn’t a knock on anybody, but Hakeem has gotten more credit for two hours than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Van Gundy said with very little prompting. “I mean, they were in a gym for two hours, three hours, and all of a sudden every shot Dwight makes is because of Hakeem.” Howard had 28 points Wednesday in a 97-87 victory over Milwaukee. He is averaging a career-high 21.4 points this season, confident enough to use a short jump shot instead of just bulling his way to the basket.

“Dwight has done a lot of work, and I’m sure Hakeem gave him some advice, but that’s just starting to annoy me. There is not anybody alive who’s turning somebody’s game around in three hours,” Van Gundy said. “Dwight has done a lot of work, and I’m sure Hakeem gave him some advice, but that’s just starting to annoy me.”

Van Gundy is right to a degree. It’s kind of like when Kobe worked out with Hakeem for a few hours a year before, and people acted as though Dream had re-invented his entire post game.

Olajuwon is undoubtedly a terrific teacher of the game. But I think it’s important to recognize the current players’ own efforts, to say nothing of the people they work with on a daily basis.

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  • karma

    lol @ repeating how it annoyed him twice in a 5 second span.

  • monkeyball

    Certainly Ewing can’t be credited for Howard’s improved post game. Ewing didn’t have a post game. He was a jump shooter his whole career.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Hakeem gets too much credit, SVG gets too much press…well, I think it is safe to call the whole thing even.

  • Thor

    What improvement? I’m really getting tired of the SVG/D12 duo.

  • ctkennedy

    he been the highest scorin center in the league for awhile..Lls what else he got to do

  • greg

    he stil has to add two moves he needs to work in the al jefferson up and under, and his turnaround, and baseline spins. then he is one of the best scorers in the league

  • LeBron de Con

    I’d prefer they would focus on me and my South Beach talents.

  • tavoris

    monkeyball-surely u didn’t forget Ewing’s RUNNING short hook.

  • Byebye

    Well Stan it’s like job training you learn the first hour then u start doing the work on your own after three hours you might not have it all done but you have an idea

  • izzo

    Yes, SVG should jealously guard the improvement that consists of that one turn around bank shot he hit-against-the-Heat that-they=wouldn’t-stop-replaying=as-an example-of-Dwight’s-improvement-once.

  • T-Money

    I see what SVG is doing, stepping up for his assistant. There were stories this summer that the coaching staff wasn’t exactly pleased that Dwight worked with Dream without consulting them first. Dream gave him confidence to pull out the moves and the range he displayed in practice in game situations – that’s invaluable and for some reason, Pat was not able to instill that confidence.

  • barnabusb

    SVG and Dwight were made for each other.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Stan cries too fuc*ing much.

  • http://www.yamahyouth.com Gerwin

    Cosign Thor; What improvement?
    Got me thinking about Eminem; I’m your biggest fan, this is Stan.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    And Spo and his moronic grin flash too much.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    He was a failure in Miami and a failure so far in Orlando. You can say what you want about Spo, but you can bet your sorry a*s he’ll be a title winning coach before Van Jeremy.

  • barnabusb

    Unless Riley steals his job, like he did to SVG.

  • letsmotor

    if you’ve seen the 30 for 30 about Reggie Miller and his Knick-killing days (and if you haven’t, you should…NOW), you may remember that someone described Larry Brown as only being happy when he’s unhappy. that seems to describe SVG pretty well too.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    Whatever my personal feelings are towards Spo (pure hate), there is no denying he is a fantastic coach. However, IF he wins a chip before SVG, it will have more to do with the Superthreeks in MIA than it will with eiter of their’ coaching acumen.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Well, Stan’s had a longer proving ground and he’s not impressive.

  • Rzavwa

    Why so much hate Eboy? Spo is a great coach, and so is SVG. You can’t really argue with a coach that got his squad to the NBA finals and the ECF in consecutive years. How is that a failure??

  • JD

    ewing and olajuwon were both great bigs, what difference does it make which great tuaght him what?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Stan Van Gundy is right.
    He’s also a whiny prick who shares too many of his thoughts with the media.
    It’s good for copy, not good for team building and respect.

  • robb

    Hakeem needs to work with Dwight at least two hours a day if he really wants him to have something close to a post game.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Last season; no offensive moves. Summer with Hakeem. This season; offensive moves. I don’t get it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Why do you hate Spo? I mean, I ain’t a huge fan, but I don’t understand why anybody would hate him?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Everytime you read a story in the media about Stan, it’s always related to some sort of dissatisfaction with how he team/players are being treated. That’s nice the first few times he tries to be chivalristic (and there are instances were it’s warranted), but the dude is like the Little Fat Boy That Cried Wolf now. Allen sees the same thing I see.

  • slamfan4life

    There goes his improvements, no more training from the Dream!

  • Eddie

    Pat Ewing sure was the uglier of the two though…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    It makes a difference because Ewing got killed when dwight didn’t improve for so long, and can’t get a look at a coaching job.
    Hakeem spends three hours, and people are talking about some team needing to snatch him up as an assistant.
    That’s all this is about, plus you know Ewing and Hakeem got some oldstanding rivalries.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Stan is saying that Ewing put in the work and Dwight finally put it together this year.
    Honestly, I agree that Hakeem got WAY too much credit. Dwight wasn’t even going that hard with Hakeem.
    I give the credit to Dwight for finally growing a pair and doing what he needed to do.

  • Jackie Moon

    Grumpy Stan. &nsbp;
    No wonder he gets a rep for being the “Master of Panic”, unwarranted as it may be. He sounds so emotional in his quotes about mundane things, it makes him appear to lack poise.

  • LA Huey

    I feel like this is something Dwight should have said, not SVG. This guy has become the Paul Bearer to Dwight’s Undertaker…

  • http://slamonline.com Caboose

    As terrible as SVG is with the media, he’s a damn good coach. He really figured out how best to utilize his team and turned the Maguc from 1st round exits into title contenders. And Dwight deserves much more credit for his improvement. I’d give very little to Hakeem and even less to Ewing.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com Dutch Rich

    Florida, where old grumpy men happen…….

  • http://www.twitter.com/AllBall247 AllBall247

    His constant smile of disbelief (about his players, the officials whatever) annoys me. Also, when they played the Lakers Kobe shot a fade away and ended up falling somewhat into Spo, and Spo gave him a little get off me shove. Surprised know one watching the game noticed that.
    It has nothing to do with his actual coaching, i’m one of the few people that has thought he is a great coach since before last season.

  • T-Money

    Allen, Caboose: If, as Dwight has been implying, Hakeem did indeed give him the confidence to try out the moves in games that actually matter instead of just practices… then these sessions were CRUCIAL. It’s a mental thing, nothing to do with how many hours they worked together.

  • Jackie Moon

    All the credit should go to Tito Jackson.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Has he actually said that? I hadn’t read that but if that’s true, I get your point. The question is why did Hakeem give him so much more confidence and should the confidence be more important than the actual technique

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    That is true T-Money but Dwight began using some of those moves towards the end of last season. He completely abandoned them in the playoffs so yes, I suppose Hakeem does deserve credit for the confidence. Though that could still just be Dwight, we have no way of knowing.

  • JTaylor21

    Did someone just say that PEwing had no post game and all he did was shooting a jumpshot? HUUUUUH, so-called basketball fans these days don’t know ish about the history of the game and probably get their info from the book of basketball.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Pat works with Howard, nothing notable happens for years.
    Hakeem works with him, and there is immediate improvement.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Hey, Brethren:
    Look at that picture that is underneath the Shaq/Letterman picture. The MTV “Skins” promo.
    I’ll tell the truth.
    That boy in that picture looks eerily like…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    this ain’t first grade philosopher.
    come on now.

  • MikeC.

    Hakeem got too much credit for my improvement too.

  • Shem

    Bargnani is averaging 21.4 as well..

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Huey wins!!! Stan is now paul bearer!

  • Blasphemy

    Hakeem Olajuwon breathed on me one time and now I know how to iron and fold my clothes. He was a real life saver.

  • greg

    @shem bargnani scores because no cares because they know even if he scores 30 they will still prolly beat the raptors.

  • tavoris

    how about Dwight’s biggest improvement is that he’s actually getting 13 shots a game. Before, they would rarely throw the rock down there unless he was UNDER the basket. Now, they are making a point (sometimes) to dump the ball in the post. That gives him more freedom to show what he can do.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    I must co-sign The Philosopher, again I don’t seem to be getting it. As a man and natural Straight-to-the-Pointer, it seems that 1+1 seems to have equaled….Wait for it….. 2.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Come on now.
    You don’t learn those post moves in three hours. Or a bank shot.
    Ewing clearly worked with Dwight. For whatever reason, Dwight didn’t use those moves much in games.
    I don’t know why. But, I saw the vids, Hakeem wasn’t teaching Dwight anything that was that new. But, he did spend a lot of time talking to him about attitude and mindset. Maybe that helped a lot, or maybe Dwight just felt ready to shut everybody up.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher


  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    ^HA! for the win.

  • Jagster

    Stan made sense, till he talked about giving Ewing credit. Patrick was there for years and got nothing out of Dwight. Patrick himself, didn’t have particularly great post moves, nor was he as similar to Dwight in body type as Olajuwon was. It was a natural conclusion that people were going to make.

    Screw Patrick! If he was that good, Dwight wouldn’t of went to him in the first place. That’s what the people in Orlando were clamoring about for years anyway (go see Hakeem). Obviously Dwight didn’t seem to have a problem with it (did yall see the videos), so why would Stan say this now unprompted? How stupid!!

  • Eddie

    I got suspended from my team last month cuz because I impregnated my girl and said it wasn’t mine. Still stand by it. Coach said it wasn’t good ethics. whatever. In any case, SVG is a undersized whiner.

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    that’s lame. apparently dwight benefited from the tutoring. all the previous years, all those training sessions, no improvement. and then all of a sudden he seems to get it and score better. sure hakeem didn’t raise him from childhood, but his tutoring session definitely gave him enlightenment.

  • http://sjfklfsl.com Jukai

    I was under the assumption that Hakeem worked a LOT longer than three hours with both Kobe and Dwight. Huh.

  • MikeC.

    Dwight definitely learned how to elbow dudes in the head from Ewing.

  • Tim

    1+1=10 in base 2

  • Justin

    JTaylor, Ewing’s post game consisted of a three step into the lane running (and I do mean running) hook/one handed shot and a turn around jumper on the baseline. A lot of times he got very (almost too) comfortable 15 feet out. Now, back in those days, outside of Hakeem and David Robinson there weren’t a lot of bigs who liked to play away from the basket and Ewing definitely had a decent jumpshot for a big man. I agree with whoever made the comparison to starting on the job, getting the basics down and then working over and over to get it right. It’s probably a combination of things. Hakeem knowing how to talk to Dwight and how to teach him some things and Dwight putting in the work to learn it. Maybe he’s just a better communicator than Ewing. And I love the Paul Bearer comparisons for SVG. Ooooohhh yeeesss!

  • tavoris

    is Dwight really scoring better? really? He looks like he’s (for the most part) doing the same things more often. Give the dude more than 8 shots a game, and he’s always been able to get u 20 a game.
    Olajuwon clearly helped with his confidence, but I don’t see ONE BIT of Olajuwon’s technique in Howard’s game.

  • Justin

    I don’t think it’s necessarily just technique tavoris. Yes, footwork was probably a good part of it but it sounds like Hakeem has helped him mentally with his approach as well

  • First & Foremost

    Dwight set the bar too high too early. The first half verse the Heat was his best 24 minutes and 1 technical EVER. Bank shot here, off the glass again there, beat the shot clock from 18 feet out, you you and you get some hooks too.

    They went on to lose the game but since then Dwight stopped showcasing that part of his game.

  • Mr McOvaChicken to you

    Dwight wants to play offence but the problem is he’s not offensively minded.

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