Hakeem Olajuwon already had the chance to work wtih Dwight Howard on his post game in the summer. The all-time great center and post playguru has been training players for years now, but the Rockets appear close to becoming one of the premier teams in the league (or at least in the top four, if Daryl Morey is right). Olajuwon is taking on a more active role within the Rockets organization. He will be working out with Howard more.
And, now, raising the expectations even higher for a young Rockets team that made the Playoffs last year and scored the biggest free agent prize of the summer.
Olajuwon and Rockets coach Kevin McHale worked with Howard and Jeremy Lin last week in Colorado. Houston's new Director of Player Development came away impressed with the potential of the Jeremy Lin/Dwight Howard combo, as Hakeem told MyFOXHouston:
Just the little offense I saw, that combination is very deadly and you can see that both of them are very excited seeing that 'wow, we bring the right ingredients together.'
"When you see players that are dedicated to succeed it gives you that window to see what kind of season that we're looking for.
Olajuwon came away impressed with Lin's offensive potential including his improved shooting ability. He has worked with Lin on his post game too because of his size compared to other point guard. And Lin was very humbled by the praise.
Lin really might be the key for Houston's success. Everyone seems to know what Houston can get from James Harden — particularly in pick and roll situations. And if Dwight Howard returns to form, he is the most dominant defensive force int he league and opens up tons of space for the vast amount of shooters the team has.
Lin though remains the point guard. Teams have laid off him because he was not a great shooter and worried about his dribble penetration. Howard's picks should open things up a bit more. And if teams are going to blitz James Harden and prevent him from turning that corner, Lin is going to have to be the guy to drive and take advantage of the rotating defense.
The Rockets as a team have improved drastically. But if Lin has improved as much as Olajuwon implies, then Houston might be sneaking into that top four their general manager envisions.