Thursday, November 09, 2006

Old McDonald had a farm and on that farm he had a a turnover!

Right now Dwight is like the guy in the YMCA that hits his first few shots and is suddenly treated like an all-star. Guys are running over to double team him and they aren't even sure why. After a productive summer (other than the whole losing to Greece thing), a dominating preseason, and the demolition of Big Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard became that YMCA guy. Every time he touches the ball, even if he is 15 feet away from the basket he gets at least a soft double team. Remember, until the very end of last season the Magic almost never ran plays for Dwight; he scored most of his points off missed Deshawn Stevenson jumpers! Dwight looks progressively more frustrated as he tries to get position down low throughout the game. By the time he establishes decent low post position, the clock is ticking down and the ball is already swinging around to the weak side of the court. When the Magic do give him the ball in the unintentionally high post (about 15 feet from dunkville) Dwight has two pet moves: a turnover by putting the ball on the floor or a turnover by trying to make a difficult pass. The other turnover factory comes when Dwight's teammates try and force the ball into his maturing hands. It is almost like they see Dwight right next to the basket and think, "Holy cow he is so close to the rim right now I have to throw the ball to him as hard as possible even though there are like three really tall guys around him right now!" For Jameer that usually means throwing the ball so low and hard that not even Alex Rodriguez could field...ok bad example - not even Derek Jeter could field it. I'm confident this is not the offense Brian Hill draws up every night. I know this because that play is not on NBA Live 07. Over the next few weeks Dwight needs to master the repost (put in a tape of any Magic game during the 1995 season and you will see Shaq complete about 50 reposts). The open players need to take the open shots; too often they are pump faking and driving into a very crowded lane. If for example you are in the game only because you can shoot, you have had knee surgery in the last five years, and you cannot jump higher than my mother, you need to shoot, not drive (yes Pat I'm talking to you). The Magic need to feed Dwight the ball from the baseline. I'm not sure why they haven't tried this yet but it will make it easier for him to seal his guy off and establish excellent position. Finally, and maybe most importantly, Dwight must stop trying to block every shot. No player has found a way to score while on the bench. The opposing teams are well aware of his jumping ability and just turning towards the incoming player will alter a lot of shots. The best shot blockers let a lot of potential blocks go unfettered, aware their presence on the court is worth more than a blocked shot.


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