Lakerman JSJ wrote:The Rock wrote:https://twitter.com/SpearsNBAYahoo/status/259167638314434560Lakers eye Dwight Howard debut Sun vs Sac,sources tell Y! DW expected to play in 2 of last 3 pre games but not both back to backs.Story soon
Yes, I AM some kind of sorcerer. Thank you for asking.
Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN wrote:Dwight Howard has yet to appear in a game for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he's hardly been sitting around.
For most of training camp, he's operated -- poor choice of words, I know -- without restrictions during practice, and in those end-of-scrimmage moments coach Lakers Mike Brown has allowed media to observe. I've seen Howard explode for dunks, face up and finish at the rim, and make a great weakside recovery to block a would-be dunker at the rim.
In 5-on-5 and post-practice drills, I've seen him wrestle for position against his fellow centers like a bear fighting for a honey baked ham. The most interesting moment, though, came Saturday, when Howard worked out on the Staples Center floor with assistant coaches Chuck Person and Darvin Ham.
They moved Howard around the right and left blocks, high and low, through a series of jump hooks, power dunks, face-ups and more. Watching the ball was easy enough, but most of the real work was happening from about the belly button down.
"We're teaching him new things. Not in terms of how to play, but how to be more effective in the post with his footwork," Person told me at practice earlier this week. "That's the thing that we're trying to accomplish with him. We teach his feet, we teach the proper footwork. It's just like Kobe. It's the same footwork whether you're in the post, on the elbow, or on the perimeter. It's still the feet that have to be sound. The less violent you are with your movements, then the more efficient you will become. Sometimes, Dwight in the past, his feet have come too far outside his shoulders, and he'll lose power and he'll lose balance. We're trying to keep him in that small, confined area where he's always quick, he's always powerful, and he's always explosive."
We all know about Howard's athleticism, and while the polish of his offensive game is often criticized -- too much so, given his actual production -- Person says Howard "has the best feet I have seen in a long time on a big man."
The hope, from a fundamentals standpoint, is to expand Howard's options. There are times when overpowering a defender isn't the best choice. When bodied up by a tree stump-type like Chuck Hayes, who lives under opponents like a bridge troll and is equally difficult to move, sometimes overpowering isn't a choice at all.
At that point, technique is key.
"You go to something else. And we've given him something else to go to," Person said. "Whether he's backing in or turning to face, he can always be in a position of strength because he has good feet. And he has quick feet. So we're teaching him to go from quickness to power, versus from power to power."
For Howard, though, the benefits aren't simply about increasing his efficiency and effectiveness as a post scorer. Improving his fundamentals is also an important aspect of keeping his back healthy post-surgery. After Saturday's game, in discussing the pregame workout, Ham noted that the hope is for Howard to more effectively engage his core muscles in the post, simultaneously making his base stronger while taking a load off his back.
A healthier body position means a healthier body.
"When he gets narrow, he bends over. When they're too wide, he leans back on his heels," Person said. "That always has an effect on [his back]. There's always a reaction he has to have."
Person understands the value of giving these details more attention, having gone through back surgery himself.
"You have to learn things correctly. I don't know about different, because when you're not injured you're supposed to do the correct things anyway. But more so after you've had some type of surgery like Dwight's had," he said.
Howard is certainly amenable to instruction, but there is a substantial amount of muscle memory to unlearn.
"That's the correct way to do things. Every time you extend forward without using your legs, you're putting more pressure on your back. So it's just the little things that can help me stabilize my back more, so there won't be any more problems," he says. "[But] it's very hard. It's hard. Just like with anything, if you've been doing something a long time a certain way, it's hard to do it a different way."
Howard is hardly the first player to gloss over shortcomings in fundamentals with supreme natural gifts, and it's reasonable to wonder how effectively he can alter old habits. Still, nothing quite crystallizes the need for change like major surgery, particularly for someone like Howard, whose perpetual health and near-perfect physique helped create an air of physical invincibility.
At 26, Howard isn't old, but he's now at a point where a lack of attention to detail has real consequences. It happens to all players, whether through physical injury or age stripping away the ability to shake off those late-night junk food runs. If Howard can internalize the tweaks presented by the coaching staff, the result will be the double benefit of more effective play on the court and less risk of having to stay off it.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN wrote: Being nervous before a basketball game isn't a new thing for Dwight Howard. He gets butterflies every time he takes the court. But when he finally debuts for the Los Angeles Lakers, which is looking sooner rather than later, Howard expects to be more than a little nervous.
"I told Steve [Nash], 'I think I'm going to be a little nervous out there the first time,' " Howard said after the Lakers practiced Thursday. "He said he'd help me through it.
"But this is a new team, new city and I think everybody is expecting a lot out of me so I have to make sure I keep all that out of my mind when I play in front of the home crowd."
Howard has been ruled out of the Lakers' exhibition game Friday against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas, but his Lakers debut seems right around the corner as he improves his conditioning and works his way back from back surgery in April.
Asked whether he felt it mattered whether he played a preseason game before playing in a regular-season game, Howard said, "I think it does. You can't expect for a preseason game to be like Michael Jordan's comeback where he goes for 45 points and 40 rebounds. Right now I just want to get my feet wet."
The Lakers have four more exhibition games before their Oct. 30 season opener against the Dallas Mavericks. Friday in Las Vegas, Sunday against the Kings at Staples Center, next Wednesday against the Clippers at Staples Center and next Thursday against the Kings in San Diego.
"I know I'm going to be a little rusty, I haven't played in so long," Howard said. "It's going be a little different, but I'm looking forward to it. Once I get my first dunk or my first block, everything will be OK."
Howard continued to participate almost fully in Lakers practice Thursday. The only reason he hasn't played in an exhibition game is that he's still building up his conditioning. He was only able to resume running right before training camp.
While the Lakers haven't been close to full strength in any exhibition game so far, they often have all five of their projected starters on the court together during practices. And Howard, for one, likes what he sees.
"I've never played with a guy like Steve Nash," Howard said. "I played with 'Pistol' Pete [Maravich] on NBA Live back in the day. That's the closest I've come.
"He just makes it easy. I won't have to battle so much to get points. If I just run the floor, I'll get easy baskets. I think that's going to help us a lot. Those easy baskets are going to help a lot."
Asked if he'd ever played with anyone like Kobe Bryant, Howard laughed and said, "I played with Elgin Baylor in NBA 2K12 last year."
And Pau Gasol?
"There's nobody like Pau," Howard said. "But I think Pau was on Sesame Street. Any of you ever seen him on Sesame Street? The Yellow Bird."
Realizing that Gasol, who was holding court with reporters nearby might be able to hear him, Howard playfully shouted out, "One of you guys said that, not me. Somebody else said that."
Lakers planning for Dwight Howard to play Sunday
The Los Angeles Lakers have targeted Sunday's preseason game against the Sacramento Kings for Dwight Howard to make his debut, several sources told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night.
Barring any complications with Howard's back over the next couple days, the Lakers are optimistic the All-Star center will make their first appearance for them on Sunday.
"He is making progress," one Lakers source told Yahoo! Sports. "There is a good chance he can play Sunday."
Howard has been sidelined since having surgery in April to repair a herniated disk. He's not expected to play against the Kings on Friday in Las Vegas. The Lakers would like Howard to play in two of their three remaining preseason games after Friday, sources said. But they're hesitant to play him in both games of a back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday.
Howard hasn't had any setbacks in practices since training camp began. If he has another strong workout on Saturday, team doctors are expected to clear him to play Sunday.
Howard would like to get some game experience with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash before the Lakers' Oct. 30 season opener against the Dallas Mavericks.
"I'll be a little nervous out there for the first time, but [Nash] said he would help me through it and hopefully it will be OK," Howard told reporters after Thursday's practice.
karacha wrote:Yeah, I think we are going to win a game or two in the preseason after all.
laker911 wrote:karacha wrote:Yeah, I think we are going to win a game or two in the preseason after all.
We were never any good in the preseason anyways.
Lakerman JSJ wrote:Just bought my tickets. Gotta see Dwight blast some fools in purple & gold for the first time!
IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?
Jerry Buss wrote:One of the biggest reasons I bought the Lakers was to beat the Celtics …..you just got it into your soul that you couldn't stand the Celtics anymore
XXIV wrote:^ Nice, for the Sunday game?
Lakerman JSJ wrote:XXIV wrote:^ Nice, for the Sunday game?
Got some pretty decent side-of-the-court upper level seats for $30/piece. Not too shabby.
LAKEROC wrote:On a whole different topic- Does anyone listen to 710? Is it me, or does Steve Mason really not like Max Kellerman?
CaCHooKa Man wrote:dwight didnt participate in shoot around today and if he doesnt feel good after practice tomorrow he wont be playing on sunday