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Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 9:20 am  |  16 responses

Houston Rockets Hiring Hakeem Olajuwon as Mentor for Centers


Dwight Howard will have a new mentor in Houston — the Rockets are close to adding Hakeem Olajuwon to their staff. Per the Houston Chronicle: “Hakeem Olajuwon, a key part of the Rockets’ recruiting efforts to land Howard and a large part of the festivities Saturday after Howard signed, will rejoin the Rockets in an official capacity for the first time since he spent the final season of his career with the Toronto Raptors in 2002. Olajuwon’s duties and title are being discussed, and he will spend much of the year at his home in Jordan. But he will work with Rockets interior players, as he does with big men around the NBA each offseason, as a team employee. ‘We are going to bring him in as full-time as is possible,’ Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said Sunday. ‘It’s not done, but we have mutual interest to get it done, and we’ve had some early discussions. We want him to work with Dwight and Omer (Asik), and he wants to do that.’ Olajuwon, 50, has worked with Howard in two offseasons, and Howard has spoken about training with him again, this time as the latest in the line of Rockets All-Star centers. ‘He has improved so much,’ Olajuwon said. ‘I like with the Houston Rockets he will get a chance to show his true potential. That’s exciting. The last two years, he has not really been given that opportunity to really, really express his game, his comfort level and confidence. Here he has a team that is willing to do that. They want him to do that.’ [...] ‘I just tried to show what he is trying to accomplish basketball-wise, this is the best team for him. No question about that. That was very clear. You can see he is excited. He’s happy. The city is excited. This is a great choice. That’s why everybody can’t wait to start.’”

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  • LLC#12

    It frustrates me how wasted Asik is going to be. Working with Olajuwon will be good for him though, he has very little offense. As for Dwight, I’m not that convinced he improved much from working with Hakeem the first time. Wonder how much they are paying Hakeem, considering he charges a small fortune for the 1 to 1 sessions he runs at his ranch.

  • logues

    All this talk about hakeem makes me wanna go watch my 1994 finals dvds.. knicks vs rockets 7 game series! if you don’t own it I highly recommend you buy it! great series

  • spit hot fiyah

    I think this is what they call a no brainer

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I think Asik will be fine playing with Howard as long as he comes off the bench. I see him mirroring Gortat when Howard was in Orlando.

  • Nate

    If Howard hasn’t developed anything resembling a post game in 10 years, I doubt he will at this point.

  • underdog

    They should play them together sometimes, just to dominate the paint.

  • Markus437

    Unless Asik has a mid range shot, I don’t really see the spacing working on the offensive side, defensively they would be dominant in the paint

  • SGM

    I disagree. As Charles Barkley said, you can’t teach what Hakeem did. Kevin McHale is the better mentor because his moves were simpler and more fundamentals-based, which makes sense given the current quality of Dwight’s offensive game. Worse, I think Dwight will find it annoying the number of ‘mentors’ they are surrounding him with. Its not like he’s a rookie — as someone else mentioned, he’s been in the league for like 10 years.

  • RunNGun

    From Hakeem the Dream to Dwight the… DWIGHTMARE? LOL

  • hoodsnake

    Asik will be happier backing up James harden smh

  • spit hot fiyah

    agree and disagree. yes mchale should be a very good mentor. But Hakeem’s game was skill based and you can teach skill, so i disagree with barkely. can Hakeem turn dwight’s game into Hakeem’s game? off course not. but the things u can’t teach are things that are based on athleticism (see, mcgee, deandre, drummond)

    and howards post game did become better after he worked with Hakeem the first time around, off course it is hard to prove that that was the cause but he did improve after that summer. and then digressed after the back surgery

  • ShadyMan

    He could come back as a player with the skill that he still has after over a decade.

  • Lloyd

    Consistent, almost daily, mentorship with the best and most skilled center to ever play the game is going to help.

  • Lloyd

    Yes and no. Hakeem’s game was skill based, but dude was gracefully athletic. His skills complimented that. The footwork, the movesets, the agility; that’s what defined Olajuwon’s game.

    Howard is a different type of athlete. He’s all power. The Dream can definitely teach Dwight some basic moves, but nothing even close to what he was able to do on the court.

  • Deep J

    10 years in and still no post play improvement, people just don’t realize that you just don’t suddenly get post moves. They take years of development and usually comes in the beginning stages of development. Howard will be the same “no hands” , robotic big you’ve seen for 10 years. And if Hakeem has worked 2 years with him already…where the hell is the improvement ?

  • Vikram Bhosale

    Please let me burn the them!

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