Houston Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon calls Dwight Howard “Very Raw”

By Phillip Pyle

via Rockets.com

The Houston Rockets have needed a center for a very long time. Yao Ming held that title as long as the bones in his enormous feet would let him. Since his retirement the Rockets relied upon Chuck Hayes of all people as the team’s center. Last season’s aquisition of Omer Asik finally filled the void of a true big man in the paint. With the addition of arguably the best center in the league, Dwight Howard, the Rockets now have two centers in their prime. Also worth noting the Rockets have also signed Marcus Camby, and Jordan Henriquez at the center position as well.

The recent hiring of Rockets Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon as a “Centers Coach” aids in the development offensively of Howard and Asik. This past week Howard has been working out with Hakeem, and Rockets coach Kevin McHale on post moves, and offensive manuevers.

Olajuwon was truthful  in assessing Howard speaking with Rockets.com, saying Howard was “very raw.”

“As good as he is right now, he’s still very raw. But he has all the tools so I’m like a kid in a candy store. That’s why we give him the fundamentals of these moves. There’s a rhythm. And once he sees it, then it’s easier to emulate and then incorporate with power. He has the power. Now we’re adding finesse to the power.

“The best big men in the game – they’re game-changers. That’s what he is. And he’s in the right situation where the coach understands it, he demands it, and Dwight can give it.”

Now it is up to Howard and Asik, but more Howard to put what he has learned into play. The Rockets will rely heavily upon Howard on the defensive end of the court, but will need his offensive game to assist when the beloved three-pointer is not working.

Now we wait and see.

“I just feel like having guys like Hakeem and Kevin McHale on my side, I can’t lose,” Howard said. “They’re going to really stay on me and that’s what I want. I want Coach to hold me accountable. I want my teammates to hold me accountable and to push me which in turn will make everybody better because I’m going to push these guys the same way they’re pushing me.

“Everything Hakeem has done has been positive and geared toward helping me grow. He told me, ‘I see something in you.’ He wants me to dominate. So this is it. This is the right place for me. This was about putting myself in the opportunity to win and to make myself the best player I can be.”