OAKLAND — Below is a conversation I had with Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person on how Dwight Howard can incorporate mid-range skills into his game.
What do you think this will do for Dwight?
Person: “Better player means slowing down and takeing what the defense gives you. Although he’s big, strong and explosive, you don’t have to overpower everybody on every trip to get a shot. Sometimes you can catch it. If you’re open, shoot it. If not, take one dribble and jump over the guy. That’s still a good shot. Proving how good you are doesn’t mean proving how strong you are.”
How long has he been working on it?
Person: He’s always done it. It’s just a matter of redfining it and reassuring him that it’s okay to take a shot. I don’t think he’s been given that type of freedom before that Mike has given him.
What’s his usual routine?
Person: It depends if it’s a practice or game day. On game days, he’ll make 50 – 10 bank shots from each side, from top and from the elbows. He’ll make his hook shots left and right. On game day, make a 100 on game day. He’ll make a couple hundred, 250 on non game days.
So how should Dwight incorporate this into his game? The system dictates what he works on. That’s the misnomer in it that players tend to work on things. I fit’s not conducive to what the system wants, then it’s wasted energy iny our workouts. We’ll practice moves that we get on our system.
So is it basically just a matter of how Dwight reacts to how the defense plays him?
Person: He’ll be open. They’ll give it to him. It’s up to him to decide if he’ll shoot it with confidence or not. If he doesn’t shoot it with confidence, he’ll continue to back off and continue to pass off those 15 footers.
Have you seen his confidence increase/strong>
I do. Dan [D’Antoni] and Mike [D’Antono] had David Lee in New York and the guy could not make a shot coming out of college and in the pros. He got there and you take open shots. AC Green, with the Lakers, couldn’t make a shot. Finally, they said this 15-footer, 17-footer, you have to make it. Then it starts to go in. Now it’s another weapon they have to guard.
With Dwight, we just have to trust the fact that if we miss a few it’s okay. But if you continue tot ake that shot, it will go in eventually.
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