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DwightLife – Chapter 2: The Song

Dwight Howard’s arrival in Houston signals the arrival of one of the most dominant players in basketball, along with one of the most polarizing personalities in sports. Here at Red94, we are embracing the drama of Superman’s first season as a Rocket with a weekly column: “DwightLife.” This is the second installment.

The question about Dwight Howard going into his first season as a Houston Rocket was, what’s going on in his heart?

After three games, the question is, what song is going through his head?

Following a shaky 4-10 performance from the line against Dallas on Friday night, Dwight said “Tonight my song was too fast in my head, so I’ve got to sing a slower song.” He stayed mum on what that song was, but clearly he changed it up against the Jazz (please leave your music puns in the comments). In Utah he knocked down 7 of 10, including two with 1:55 left to go in the fourth to ice Houston’s lead.

Despite a first week that included a career-high-tying 26 rebounds on opening night and more thunderous alley-oop dunks from its center than Houston saw all last season, free throw shooting continues to dominate the perception of Howard. And it should. It’s impossible to understand the repercussions of Howard’s free throw performance without watching him play. Put simply, when Howard gets the ball within five feet of the basket, the other team reacts like a mother to a child who is reaching for a rattlesnake.

One particular play against Utah illustrates this. As Howard spun toward the hoop from the post, Rudy Gobert locked arms with Dwight in a move that commentator Matt Bullard described as a “do-si-do.” While another defender came over to attempt a block, Gobert’s goal was not to block the shot, but to physically restrain Howard from being able to take one. Such is Superman’s ability to score at the rim.

Until Howard’s free throw shooting improves dramatically (or until the league starts calling such plays flagrant fouls, which it should), we will be doomed to watching one of the world’s most elite athletes stand flat-footed and toss the ball at the basket instead of soaring through the air to slam it through.

Dwight Howard brings so much to the court that I wouldn’t say his free throw shooting could cost the team a championship. Every player has flaws, and Howard is clearly a net positive on the floor. But it will cost the fans countless opportunities to see a great player display his gifts.

If having a secret song is what it will take for Howard to be free to unleash his powers on offense, then let him have his secrets.

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About the author: John Eby got on the Rockets bandwagon in 1994 and never got off. He is a public relations guy and recovering TV journalist living in South Carolina.

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Total comments: 6
  • Chichos says 11 months ago

    I believe D12 has found the right slow song to sing while shooting his free throws, 9/12 is 75% which is quite impressive!

    What are teh chances he was singing this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc6d1t7CeJs

  • rocketrick says 11 months ago

    I believe D12 has found the right slow song to sing while shooting his free throws, 9/12 is 75% which is quite impressive!

  • rocketrick says 11 months ago

    Given the consistency of Howard's FT shooting percentage during his career, it's unlikely that it will improve at this stage of his career. Certainly not impossible, but unlikely.

    The frustrating thing about Howard's FT shooting is that it appears largely the product of poor technique. He does not bend his knees and use his lower body properly, which then results in a release of the ball that requires more wrist action than is optimal. This flippy release is the big component of his poor technique. When his timing is good on the release, he can shoot 7-10 that way. But when it is not, he will shoot 4-10, if that "good."

    The Rockets have had some really good FT shooters over the years. But of all of them, I always thought Mike Newlin had the best technique. I wonder if Mike is available for some lessons with Dwight?

    Sorry, I have to disagree with your premise.

    Shooting the ball is the easiest skill that can be improved in the NBA. For sure, a big part of that is mental and that is exactly why D12 is "clearing his mind" before taking his free shots at the line.

    As Rockets fans, we better get ourselves mentally preparedfor watching D12 taking mucho (some importante)FT's and perhaps sing a slow song in our minds simultaneously..........................

  • Alituro says 11 months ago

    The Rockets have had some really good FT shooters over the years. But of all of them, I always thought Mike Newlin had the best technique. I wonder if Mike is available for some lessons with Dwight?

    How bout Murph? He's been putting on clinics for years, held FT% record for decades, I'm sure if anyone, he could teach Dwight a thing or two.

    Is it me or has anyone else noticed that Dwight is slow to help on the weak side? In the past couple games, I saw numerous times when a wing was in ISO, burned our wing, baseline and when Dwight slid over, he never even left his feet, resulting in pretty easy layups. Definitely not the effort I've been expecting. I'm gonna go ahead and make a statement: Asik is better, technically, at D than Howard. I'll see if I can find those examples.

    If he could also develop a better bank shot also, It will go a long way towards his improvement offensively.

  • MrLobble says 11 months ago

    Who's Mike Newlin, lol? (goes to youtube)

  • Bigtkirk says 11 months ago

    Given the consistency of Howard's FT shooting percentage during his career, it's unlikely that it will improve at this stage of his career. Certainly not impossible, but unlikely.

    The frustrating thing about Howard's FT shooting is that it appears largely the product of poor technique. He does not bend his knees and use his lower body properly, which then results in a release of the ball that requires more wrist action than is optimal. This flippy release is the big component of his poor technique. When his timing is good on the release, he can shoot 7-10 that way. But when it is not, he will shoot 4-10, if that "good."

    The Rockets have had some really good FT shooters over the years. But of all of them, I always thought Mike Newlin had the best technique. I wonder if Mike is available for some lessons with Dwight?

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