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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 at 4:10 pm  |  63 responses

Mike D’Antoni Says Dwight Howard Refused to Accept His Role


It’s no secret that Dwight Howard wasn’t a big fan of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching style. Hell, he flat-out asked the Los Angeles Lakers to hire Phil Jackson. Once he bolted, Howard also talked about how excited he was to play for and learn post moves from Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale. D’Antoni views things differently, as one might expect, and says Dwight simply refused to accept his role on the Lakers during his one disastrous season in Hollywood. Per the LA Daily News: “It was a tough situation and it was just really hard for him to put his mark on the team.’ In other words, it was nothing like D’Antoni envisioned when he accepted the Lakers offer. ‘It’s such a great job that you only look at the positives,’ D’Antoni said. So when he hobbled to Los Angeles from New York shortly after undergoing knee surgery eight months ago he thought he was taking over a championship-caliber team that featured Kobe Bryant, the greatest player of his generation, and the endless possibilities of Nash and Howard on the pick and roll. ‘Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on the pick and roll, and that’s what I do?’ D’Antoni remembers, wistfully. ‘I just thought, ‘Boy, that’s gonna be a staple.’ Instead he ran smack into a hornet’s nest. Howard never was completely healthy and refused to buy into his role. He fancied himself as a dominating low-post force the offense should run through. ‘There was just a lot of conflict, emotionally,’ D’Antoni said. ‘People were not settled in their roles. But it’s funny because a lot of times players will say ‘I don’t know my role.’ It’s not that you don’t know it, you just don’t accept it.’ Howard never accepted his, although appeasing him as a prominent low-post option also wasn’t practical because he simply wasn’t healthy enough to carry that load. ‘The only thing that cracks me up is (the question) ‘Why didn’t you go through him more?’ D’Antoni said. ‘Well, he was hurt. Why would we go through him if he’s hurt? You have to (factor) that in. Why would we do that with Kobe and Nash and (Pau) Gasol on the floor? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.’ [...] In fact, D’Antoni noticed a bit of irony in Howard choosing Houston, considering the Rockets run an offense every bit as wide open as the one D’Antoni prefers and the one Howard resisted conforming to last year. ‘The thing that cracks me up is Houston, they do the exact same thing,’ D’Antoni said, laughing. ‘And so (Howard) is gonna go to Houston? OK, so did they talk about change there? Don’t tell me that it’s that different.’ D’Antoni wishes Howard well, but does think he needs to accept what makes him a special player rather than envision himself as something he isn’t yet and may never be. ‘He’s a force and he can be really, really good and dominate the league,’ D’Antoni said. ‘But it’s in an area that he’s not loving right now. He wants to dominate a different way, in the low post and all that. But he needs to get better there, and he will. But his greatness is in defense and being a physical force. I think he’d be better served if he embraces that. But he’s good.’”

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  • Roy Blumenfeld

    Mike’s offensive schemes are the wrong fit for the Lakers roster and especially for Howard. He can say it ‘cracks him up’, but he will be out of the job before the end of next season because his stubborn ways and refusal to make adjustments will lead LA to failure.

  • Roy Blumenfeld

    Mike’s offensive schemes are the wrong fit for the Lakers roster and especially for Howard. He can say it ‘cracks him up’, but he will be out of the job before the end of next season because his stubborn ways and refusal to make adjustments will lead LA to failure.

  • RR

    I agree that mike won’t be it LA very long but it doesn’t make what he says about Dwight true.. He should’ve learned post moves when he first came into the league rather than trying to learn them now.. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hakeem couldn’t teach him anything because of how childish this dude is..

  • RR

    I agree that mike won’t be it LA very long but it doesn’t make what he says about Dwight true.. He should’ve learned post moves when he first came into the league rather than trying to learn them now.. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hakeem couldn’t teach him anything because of how childish this dude is..

  • Chicagorilla

    Mike D’Antoni needs to settle down. He’s sarcastically laughing because Houston was smart enough to give Howard the damn ball in the post. Not only that but they have Kevin McHale, who is the games best post teacher contrary to popular belief. McHale has a resume of Kevin Garnett, Joe Smith, Al Jefferson, and Kevin Love as far as guys he taught the low post game. KG and AL are two of the best low post scorers in the last 15yrs, and if he had more time with Love, Love would be even better than he already is.

    McHale being able to spend day in and day out teaching Dwight the intracies of the low-post will be the greatest thing that has ever happened to Dwight’s career and possibly the NBA. Because if Dwight starts dominating the low block like he should, that would be a big step forward in bringing the big man back into the NBA.

  • spit hot fiyah

    ” Why would we do that with Kobe and Nash and (Pau) Gasol on the floor?” pau was on the floor?

  • Basketball_iQ

    “if dwight Howard embraced Defense and rebounds more than offense, he’d dominate the league”

    That’s basically what he just said. And I agree 1000 percent

  • LLC#12

    If I’ve got Pau and Dwight in the post and I need a basket, I’m throwing it to Pau every time.

  • Guest

    McHale/Hakeem probably could help him out with post moves, but you think Harden is just gonna stand around and be a floor spreader for Dwight? Harden NEEDS the ball. Ratio wise, Dwight is infinitely more likely to be in screen action plays than getting iso touches down low simply because its the LOGICAL thing to do when you have Dwight Howard and a great point guard on your team.

    Which is why (as a Lakers fan) I am going to be so enraged when Dwight starts doing everything we wanted him to do on offence in LA like: 1) Set your killer screens 2) Roll & explode towards the rim 3) Be the greatest pick & roller ever (which he was well on his way to in Orlando).

    Harden is so good in screen actions and if Dwight buys into the P&R game, they could be one devastating combo. BUT he didn’t buy into it for Steve Nash. I repeat, STEVE “One of the greatest to ever do the P&R game” NASH.

    So as a Lakers fan, I hope McHale forces him the ball down low, because that’s exactly what I would want when going against the dude. Can’t stop him what-so-ever in the P&R game. You can completely contain him on iso touches down low. No matter WHO’s teaching him new post moves. Dude just doesn’t get it.

  • Basketball_iQ

    I agree that McHale is the man in the post,,,,, however,,,, when Nash tried to teach him free throws, he bulked…..
    When KAJ offered to teach him in the post, he bulked.
    What’s gonna be different in Houston
    But I’m rooting for him *shrugs*

  • LP @ThisisEther

    And its the EXACT same thing Stan Van Gundy used to say when he coached him in Orlando….. Crazy…

  • bike

    Hakeem to Dwight: ‘God comes first. Paradise is not cheap’.
    Dwight: ‘Can I get sprinkles on my Dream Shake?’.

  • Guest

    McHale/Hakeem probably could help him out with post moves, but you think Harden is just gonna stand around and be a floor spreader for Dwight? Harden NEEDS the ball. Ratio wise, Dwight is infinitely more likely to be in screen action plays than getting iso touches down low simply because its the LOGICAL thing to do when you have Dwight Howard and a great point guard on your team.

    Which is why (as a Lakers fan) I am going to be so enraged when Dwight starts doing everything we wanted him to do on offence in LA like: 1) Set your killer screens 2) Roll & explode towards the rim 3) Be the greatest pick & roller ever (which he was well on his way to in Orlando).Harden is so good in screen actions and if Dwight buys into the P&R game, they could be one devastating combo. BUT he didn’t buy into it for Steve Nash. I repeat, STEVE “One of the greatest to ever do the P&R game” NASH.

    So as a Lakers fan, I hope McHale forces him the ball down low, because that’s exactly what I would want when going against the dude. Can’t stop him what-so-ever in the P&R game. You can completely contain him on iso touches down low. No matter WHO’s teaching him new post moves. Dude just doesn’t get it.

  • mike

    Why do people believe Dwight will automatically get better working with Mchale and Hakeem…. Dwight has been training in the league for 9 years. 9 years working with some of the other greatest professional coaches and even professional players.. ie Patrick Ewing and even Hakeem at one point. I know the Hakeem training was jus for a short period, but the Ewing mentoring was for several years as well as professional instruction those coaches have to be some of the higest caliber coaches in the world to make it to the NBA level. If he couldnt master basics from those guys , how much more can he learn ? Granted he might learn a lil something, but i doubt anything drastic.

  • ScrewT

    Lakers need to get over it. He’s gone.

  • Conor

    Chicagorilla sounds familiar… DIME?

    Anyway, Houston can give Roboballer the ball all they’d like while he shuffles about and continues to get hacked and miss free throws.

    He can learn reverse pivots, up-and-unders, dream shakes, and shimmy fades, but it won’t help his free throw shooting.

  • shockexchange

    (Beyonce voice) “If he liked it then he woulda put a ring on it … uh uh oh, uh uh oh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh”

  • Evan Boland

    He wants to be a back to the basket center, but he’s not. I cringed everytime the ball was tossed into him on the block.

  • LakeShow

    Exactly.

    TO machine

    No one should have a 1:2 assist to TO ratio.

  • RR

    Hell if I got Kobe and Dwight in the post ill pass it to Kobe..

  • Junior Taylor

    What role is that exactly? Stand under the basket waiting to rebound Kobe’s misses? Even Stevie Wonder could see that passing up PJax for Antoni on a team that should have played inside-out put the Lakers in a hole they could never recover from.

  • Junior Taylor

    Also..there is nothing I hate more than when a coach whines about players not accepting their roles. We are talking a guy that refused to play one of the best PFs in the world and a guy that dominated the Olympics (Team USA included) because he didn’t fit his scheme. It is up to the coach to adjust to his players and their strengths not the other way around.

  • Evan Boland

    lmao, Kobe averaged 6 assists a game last year. Highest amongst shooting guards.

  • Conor

    Gasol was injured and played poorly even when he was implemented properly at the beginning of the season. He only began to improve in February. Let’s be clairvoyant.

  • Caboose

    It is REMARKABLE how fast Dwight went from best Center in the world and MVP candidate to rivaling Desagana Diop for worst offensive player ever. I mean, has anyone else had their skills deteriorate that fast outside of Space Jam?

    Wait.

    That’s just what stupid Lakers fans think?

    Oh ok. Carry on.

  • Caboose

    Know which players have posted a 1:2 assist:TO ratio at some point during their careers?
    Shaquille O’Neal
    Hakeem Olajuwon
    Patrick Ewing
    Kareem Abdul Jabbar
    Alonzo Mourning
    And know who has averaged a 1:2 assist:TO ratio for their entire career?

    Moses Malone

    Just saying, careful with those all-encompassing statements.

  • Caboose

    So what is it that makes you go against statistics? This is like betting on one row of numbers instead of colors in roulette even if the payoffs are the same.

    To put it statistically, Dwight had a 57.4 TS% and a 58.0 eFG%, far higher than Gasol’s 51.0% and 47.1% respectively. That means, on the whole, Dwight is a far more efficient scorer than Gasol.

    You also mentioned “in the post.” Most people would consider that from 9 feet in. Dwight finishes over 70% of his shots at the rim, a full 5% higher than Pau. Additionally, Dwight makes 45% of his shots from 3-9 feet, 7.5% higher than Pau.

    Maybe you like getting And1′s and avoiding getting blocked; those are solid skills for post players to have. Well, Dwight was equally likely to finish an And1 as he was to get blocked. Gasol? Pau was 10x more likely to get blocked than finish an And1.

    Ok, ok. What about free throws? Dwight sucks at free throws, so that’s where Pau wins, right? Nope. Dwight has a free throw rate of .89, where he converts half of them. Pau has a free throw rate of .31, where he converts 70% of them. That means that Dwight is making more than double the points as Pau from the free throw line on average.

    So please, tell me why you don’t like statistics. I’d be happy to hear it.

  • JD

    Dwight Howard not being mature. Blah blah blah. Everyone knows the guy is almost as dumb as Aaron Hernandez.

  • Max

    Those stats also factor in his dunks he get from just running to the rim.
    The stat needed would be for how many points/assists they get for every touch in the post.

  • ActionBronson

    Paragraphs! Paragraphs! Paragraphs!

  • iceman

    Mike “The Rock” Dantoni – “Dwight know your role AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH!”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Probably should look at the passing related statistics…..
    .
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=gasolpa01&y1=2011&p2=howardw01&y2=2011
    .
    I’m just assuming you understand why I chose that season.

  • Chukaz

    It cracks me up that Dwight went to Houston because he wanted to get the ball in the post and be featured on offense. If he wanted those things, he shoulda gone to the Mavs. Jim Carey got MVP level play from Jermaine O’Neal and Dirk is just DYING to pass the torch to someone. Dallas was far and away the best destination for him (i’m a laker fan). Instead he picked Houston, where a younger and more offensively gifted all-star already takes court. Houston TOLD him he’d be featured, but when they start 9-10, Harden’s gonna get back the keys to the car. I think McHale has a sub .500 record and has no track record whatsoever that would make you think he’s an ideal coach for a low post player. The fact that McHale was a 2nd or 3rd option from the post during his playing days doesn’t mean he understands low post play today. Zone defenses were illegal in the 80s. In 2013 zone principles are staples of man to man defense. If he wanted spacing, he shoulda gone to the Warriors. If he wanted to be the man, he shoulda gone to Dallas. He picked Houston, a team with a coach that plays uptempo and cares about ball movement and spacing, and a ball dominant 2 guard who prefers to have the offense ran thru him. The rockets are basically the lakers, but in a sh*ttier city, with a sh*ttier history, and a smaller budget.

  • Saleem Rainman

    dafuq

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Hey ‘boose it’s not even that… when dwight left orl for lal he wasn’t the player HE expected to be and he wasn’t the player the Lakers thought they were getting (ie read: tow the company line as a Laker footsoldier aka Gasol/Nash/Peace) add to the mix the amount of injuries the entire team faced and the “new guy” copped it all season. The best thing for Howard going to Rockets is the scrutiny under LAL lights is so much more consuming than in Houston…. D’Antoni is right. If Dwight allowed himself to take on that nash/amare style of play we would be looking at a group looking to develop a healthy team for the upcoming championship. Case closed.

  • grgeblck

    Sounds like bitc*ing all over the place.

  • thebossman15

    the dude has never been offensively gifted,

    Thats what everyone thinks

  • thebossman15

    nothing spells ‘i dont know much about basketball so im gonna base my argument off of statistics too try and justify my point’ better than this comment

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Dude wtf are you talking about??? Brook Lopez is the best center in the world.

  • underdog

    On the contrary, I think, DH12 is nothing but gifted. I mean just take a look at him, dude is a monster, even among other centers. Imo people questioned his work ethic and willingness to learn at least 3 different post-moves, especially after Kobe declared he won’t just give up the crown.

  • asdf

    good point. Pau also shoots mid range

  • Armando

    Are you insinuating that a man hired as an NBA head coach doesn’t understand low post play today? Really?

  • LLC#12

    It’s the shots they take, I’d imagine Dwight shoots a much higher % of Dunks/alley-oops than Pau, which are obviously very easy shots (for him, not for me :( ) and boosts his percentage. Not to mention Pau just had HIS WORST season ever. I whole heartedly believe if Pau hadn’t been treated like a spare part for the whole season, his percentages would have been a lot higher, instead he was lost in the offense, settling for whatever scraps he got. Your free throw point is pretty redundant also, that just shows the widely known fact that Dwight shoots a lot of free throws because he gets hacked a lot because everyone knows he is bad at them. You’ve heard of hack-a-dwight, but who’s ever heard of hack-a-pau? That’s right, nobody, cause Pau isn’t an enormous liability.

    My original point was, 1on1 1, in the post, who is more likely to score on their defender. I doubt many people would disagree with Pau being the answer in that instance.

    I enjoy statistics as much as the next man, but I stand by my original point, I had the same opinion before the Lakers got Dwight, the same opinion whilst they had him, and I have the same one now he left.

    I still think Dwight is the best center in the world, but that doesn’t mean he is the best at every facet of the game.

  • MUBWAR

    loool

  • LP @ThisisEther

    Dwight is a TO machine too, you gotta put that in there….i think its a toss up…

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I’ve been saying this for a while… He’s easily been the best center in the league for ~5 years now….

  • shockexchange

    Only a sidepiece would ask that question.

  • Saleem Rainman

    and only a mouthpiece would reply to it

  • shockexchange

    You’ve just outshocked the Shock Exchange! *welp*

  • robb

    He refuses to accept he’s a man, not a kid. That’s his problem.

  • LakeShow

    Are you serious? I’m not talking about “at some point”….

    Dwight has a CAREER 1:2 ratio…. !

    What did you not understand about that?

    Shaq… No

    Hakeem… No

    Kareem… No

    Ewing…. No

    Mourning… Yes

    Malone…. Yes

    Only Mourning and Malone have similar TO ratios

  • Caboose

    Let me just check your post…I’m sure you said career in there somewhere….no? Oh ok.

  • Caboose

    All good points. You were definitely not the target audience of that post haha.

  • LakeShow

    F*ck your stats.

    Give it to Pau.

    I win.

  • LakeShow

    Why would I just choose a random season to bring up that point…

  • Caboose

    Cause time is linear?

  • LakeShow

    LOL…
    You would believe that…

  • LakeShow

    I was thinking other way around…

    He refuses to accept he’s a kid, not a man.

  • fitzy

    says the guy that told dwight to work on his midrange jumper

  • Conor

    How many Lakers games did you see last season? Are you joking?

    HaHaHa

  • Mike From Spain

    What was his assist %? That would be the assist percentage in the time he was on the floor. It is useful to gauge whether someone is getting the assists due to a much higher usage rate rather than because they are distributing so much more. I mean, he handled the ball even when Nash was healthy at the start of the season.

  • Mike From Spain

    I made jokes about Dwight’s post moves, but in fact he’s been very efficient in offense. Whether that is because or in spite of his lack of finesse is a moot point.

    I hate to admit it but the stats say Dwight was more central to Orlando’s success than Pau to the Lakers’ …

  • JL

    This guy is so much about his ego that he would rather forgo his strongest weapon to do post moves to prove people wrong. Yet despite that, when healthy he’s still the number one center in the league. May not be for long when Hibbert keeps developing or Marc Gasol gets a ring (not sure how that’s going to happen), but he’s still at the top. The fact that the Lakers were not able to convince Dwight, to manage Kobe’s ego, to put together a championship team, that’s on the management. I mean, everyone has affected this outcome, but it’s the ownership and management team that’s ultimately responsible.

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