Whether it's using a baby jump hook or just by straight up dunking, Dwight Howard, like most centers, does most of his work on offense from the post. However, the Atlanta Hawks center wants to expand his range and is planning on shooting more jumpers this season.
Don't expect Howard to be shooting 3s though. He wants to be considered a threat from mid-range and believes that if he confidently shoots jumpers, it will add another aspect to his overall game.
"It's all about being able to grow and just having confidence," Howard recently told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Coach (Mike Budenholzer) has total confidence in me shooting the basketball. So, that's not an issue. I think in the past I've started to shoot and then I've stopped. I can't allow missing or anything like that to affect how I play on the floor."
"It's the mentality," Howard said. "In my younger years, when I shot those shots I laughed and joked. I don't think people took it serious when I did that even if I made it. If people see that I'm taking that part of my game seriously, then they'll get used to it. I think it's something that they've never really seen, especially since I've been playing in the NBA. It's all about how I do it."
In an effort to improve his free-throw shooting simply by muscle memory, Howard has been working on his jumper this offseason. Yet making wide-open jumpers in the summer is nothing like attempting a shot against a defender during actual game play. And while Mike Budenholzer may have "total confidence" in Howard shooting the ball, the Hawks coach likely doesn't want that to be a large part of his new starting center's game considering how poorly Howard has shot the ball in the past from outside the post.
But kudos to Howard for trying to expand his game. The league has trended away from iso-post play in the last couple of years and Howard's history of injury has limited him in the past, so expanding his range should help him become a better overall player. Howard will surely get plenty of open looks, too, as based on his career so far, teams can sag off him when he takes jumpers.
Howard though has to, as he says, remain confident throughout the process. In the past it seems like he lets his emotions get the best of him during games, so if he is able to get past that mental hurdle perhaps he can improve on his already strong overall game.