When you think of Hawks' center Dwight Howard, what words come to mind?
Big? Dunker? Rebounder? Shot blocker? Bad at free throws? Baby?
All of these words may pop into your head, but I can guarantee 'stretch big' wasn't in your mind at the time.
Well, Dwight's hoping to change that in time for next season, reportedly planning to work on his outside shot during the offseason.
Howard joined ESPN’s The Jump on Tuesday, and when asked how the evolution of small ball and perimeter-oriented play has made him evolve his game, the center said he’s working on his three-point shooting so that he can remain a valuable player through the last years of his career.
“I’ve been working on my threes,” Howard said, “really trying to add some range to my game, which is gonna be weird for people to see, I guess, because they’re used to seeing me in the paint battling. But in order for me to play longer, I have to expand my game.”
This isn't new news however. At the start of the season, the Hawks’ big man said it was only a matter of time before he extended his range to the three-point line.
"Actually it's something that we all work on every day in practice," Howard said in November. "You know what, it's going to happen. It's the beginning of the season. ... I do want to shoot some threes. I think that it would just expand everything for myself and for this team. But right now, this team needs me to dominate the paint."
Howard's practice didn't particularly pay off this season, and I suspect Coach Budenholzer wasn't a fan of Dwight shooting from three this season, as he only registered two attempts in the 74 games he featured in, missing both. The former All-Star has had a terrible record from deep, shooting 5 of 56 from three-point land in his 13-year NBA career.
Howard did dominate the paint somewhat for Atlanta this year however, posting averages of 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game along with 1.2 blocks per contest. Atlanta finished 39-43 on the season, making the playoffs as the 5th seed.