Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon spent some time this offseason working with Dwight Howard in an attempt to show the new Rockets acquisition some of his tricks. Olajuwon returned to his home in Jordan in early October, but he has kept tabs on Howard ever since.
While Howard is posting solid averages of 17.2 points and 13.9 rebounds on 53.6 percent shooting this season, Olajuwon believes the big man should be doing "a better job," according to Fran Blinebury of NBA.com:
"Dwight has always been athletic and aggressive and he still is. But when I watch him, what I see are opportunities that he is missing. When he gets the ball, he seems to be taking his time to decide what move to make, where he should go.
"There should not be a delay for Dwight. 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.
"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. But what I see now is that when Dwight gets in competition, 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."
Howard has come under fire from some pundits for not being a dominant enough force offensively given his imposing physical stature, and he's currently taking just 10.4 shots per game, his lowest number since 2009-10.
Olajuwon plans to come back to Houston around the All-Star break to work with Howard full-time in order to reinforce positive habits. The Dream also hopes his presence will help with Howard's free throw woes, which have plagued the Rockets at times to start the year.
Williams out Wednesday with broken nose
Williams initially broke his nose Friday against the San Antonio Spurs. The forward played in Utah's next two games, both against the Golden State Warriors, and was extremely productive. He averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in two losses.
However, Williams stayed in Utah to undergo surgery to fix his nose while his teammates traveled to New Orleans for the start of a three-game road trip.
Jefferson hopes to return soon
Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson has missed the last three games due to an ankle injury, but the big man hopes to return to the lineup by the end of the week, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Jefferson will almost certainly miss the Bobcats' game Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Bobcats coach Steve Clifford is hopeful Jefferson can return to practice Thursday and then play Friday.
Jefferson revealed that the pain in his ankle is related to arthritis he has had since he was six years old. The Bobcats' prize offseason acquisition is frustrated with the injury and feels like he's letting his new team down, but he knows these things are just part of the game.
Barbosa's new deal has NBA out
Barbosa is currently recovering from a torn ACL suffered last February, and he plans to launch the final stage of his recovery in Brazil. Stein reports the 30-year-old is looking good, and Barbosa hopes a strong return in Brazil will convince an NBA team to come calling.
If Barbosa is able to make a full recovery, he could provide some scoring punch off the bench. Over his 10-year NBA career, Barbosa has posted averages of 12.0 points and 2.4 assists while shooting 46.0 percent overall and 39.1 percent from three.
Crash speaks out again after ugly loss
Boston Celtics forward Gerald Wallace has been extremely outspoken this season, and he unleashed perhaps his harshest words yet following an ugly 109-85 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, according to Jay King of MassLive.com:
"I don't know what the fu- (the loss) was, just to be honest with you. I don't really know what was going on. It just seemed like we got in one zone, and it was all offensively. Things weren't going right for us offensively and it affected us in transition defense, our half-court defense and just mentally out there on the court."
Wallace played just 11 minutes in the defeat, and he expressed frustration that he couldn't help more. He went on to say how tough it is to look up at the scoreboard to see the Celtics getting their "butts kicked very night," and lamented the possibility of an extremely long season with more brutal losses to come.