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The Rockets Daily – September 9, 2013

When Bad News Is Good NewsESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss broke down some of the best and worst layup makers in the NBA, and found Omer Asik to be among the worst:

Made 48 percent of layups, attempted 145

I stayed away from listing big men because so many of their “layups” are really post moves or strained putbacks, but Asik deserves a mention. He converted 94.6 percent of his dunks, nearly 47 better than he managed on layups. From 3-10 feet, he shot 27.4 percent.

Few players better demonstrate the difference between grip and other kinds of fine motor skills. Asik is good at dunking; he has no issue putting his clamps on the rock and tomahawking it through the hoop. Once his hands try a more delicate layup, though, the ball flies off the window as if Asik’s playing handball.

This is wince-inducing. However, it’s a perfect illustration of how much more potent Houston’s offense should be with Dwight Howard rolling to the hoop. Howard shot 59 percent on layups last season, and 42.2 percent from 3-10 feet. At the rim, he shot 70.5 percent compared to Asik’s 60.9 percent.

Despite very hard work and respectable progress by Asik on the offensive end last season, the truth is that he’s still one of the most offensively limited players in the NBA. Howard is a threat to score any time he catches the ball within 10 feet of the basket. I don’t know what the ceiling is on Houston’s offense next season. Other than the very debatable Hack-A-Dwight strategy, I’m not sure if there’s a ceiling at all.

Perspective - In the midst of this article at The Diss about dunking, one of the writers nailed the perspective on Dwight Howard’s post game.

Wayne Washington: Labeling a professional basketball player as a “dunker” is an insult.  There is a difference between an athletic basketball player and an athlete who plays basketball.  A dunker is just an athlete that has selected basketball to play.  He has low skill level, low basketball IQ, and only contributes to his team by using his athletic ability.  Deandre Jordan is the perfect example.  Dwight Howard gets flack for his lack of moves in the post but he looks like Kevin Mchale compared to Deandre Jordan.

This caught my eye because I wrote-then-deleted this sentence for the previous segment: “Howard’s offensive game seems limited because he is constantly compared to all-time greats like Olajuwon, but the reality is anytime he catches the ball within 10 feet of the basket, he is a threat to score.”

Howard isn’t a low-post wizard, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. 25-year-old Kevin McHale isn’t walking through that door, so Dwight Howard is still one of the best post-play options in today’s league.

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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.