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"He needs a reminder" - Hakeem Olajuwon exposes prime Dwight Howard's weakness during their famous training sessions

The training sessions seemed well, but the results got “The Dream” disappointed.
Hakeem Olajuwon and Dwight Howard

Hakeem Olajuwon and Dwight Howard

At one point during his once phenomenal NBA career, Dwight Howard was the best center in the league. In fact, Howard and Dirk Nowitzki were the last players to lead their respective teams to the NBA Finals without the help of multiple prime All-Stars. In simpler terms, before the so-called "super teams" emerged.

If that's the case, some modern-day NBA fans may be wondering what happened to the dominant D12. Over time, a lot has been said, but NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon may have figured out the problem with Howard several years ago.

The Dream's take on Howard's game

It can be recalled that Howard had a series of special training sessions with Olajuwon roughly a decade ago. Dwight was still at his peak form, and everyone around him reckoned there was no better way to hone his game than to be mentored by one of the greatest centers of all time.

The training sessions seemed well, but the results made "The Dream" disappointed. According to Olajuwon, there had been a "delay" in Howard's thought process whenever he was in the post. It should never happen, and that was the whole point of the training.

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"When he gets the ball, he seems to be taking his time to decide what move to make… There should not be a delay for Dwight," Olajuwon told Bleacher Report in 2013. "He must be able to make a faster recognition of the situations and react immediately with a go-to move. You must move right away before the defense has a chance to set up. You must be the one making the first move so that you can force the defender to always be the one reacting."

Olajuwon also emphasized that Howard wasn't able to progress because he tends to "go back to all of his old habits."

"I thought we were doing a good job with this when we were working together over the summer and at the start of training camp… he has a tendency to go back to all of his old habits. He's just doing all of the things that he did before. He needs a reminder."

More challenges

Aside from not being able to emulate the moves of Olajuwon, Howard faced some more challenges when the all-around big men arrived in the league. Howard's former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy realized it and implied that while Dwight was still working on his post moves, guys like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid had already raised the bar for big men in the NBA.

"The problem is — and not just for Dwight — it's been a tough adjustment for them [big men.] What everybody wants right now in a center is a guy who runs, defends, defends pick-and-rolls, protects the rim, rebounds, and on offense, is a pick-and-roll guy and a lob threat… The problem is these guys all want more," Van Gundy said of Howard's career.

All told, Howard is still in the game, and he seemed satisfied being a role player with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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