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Dwight On McHale, Health, Houston

Jason Friedman of sat down with Houston center Dwight Howard for a Q&A session earlier today. Here are some highlights from the transcript:  

On his relationship and strong connection with head coach Kevin McHale:

I think Kevin sees a lot of potential in me and how I can grow as a player. I’m so excited to have him as my coach and just having the opportunity to really learn and grow from him. I’m just happy that he has more life than he’s had in a while. I think he’s very excited. Just watching him and just the few times I’ve been around him getting the chance to talk basketball and to share his past experiences with me, I really enjoy it.

How he feels now compared to last year's offseason, when he was still recovering from injuries: 

I’m so much better. My body feels a lot better. The little aches and pains that I was having for the most part of last season are gone already. It’s going to continue to get better. I’m very excited. I’m excited about the possibilities of what I’ll be able to do this season because my body is so much healthier. It’s a big difference. Last year I couldn’t really move the way I’m used to moving until the end of the season. Some of my bounce is coming back. I’m so happy about that.

On the idea of playing pick-and-roll with James Harden and Jeremy Lin: 

We’ve had a lot of conversations about it. The main thing that I tell any guard that I play with is that when I set the screen, attack that big. Make the defense make a decision. Make my man make a decision. If he’s going to stay with me, you’re going to get a dunk or a layup. If he leaves me, just throw it to the rim. We’ve talked about all of this. The biggest thing I tell those guys is that every time they get the ball in the pick-and-roll is to just be aggressive – it opens up the whole floor. I want to be aggressive in rolling, but there’s times where, the way that I set those guys up, it’s going to open up everything for everybody else. I’m going to get my shots.

People who know basketball understand the effects of a good screen-and-roll. It starts with the point guard, it goes on to the bigs and then the rest of the guys on the perimeter. So I’m looking forward to it.

On rediscovering his joy in Houston: 

The last two years haven’t been easy. It was very tough to get through that, but storms don’t last forever. One thing that I allowed those situations to do to me was take my joy away. I can’t let that happen. These guys, especially these young guys, they’ve brought some life back to me. Just being in this city, the opportunities we have as a team and the things I feel like I can do for this community, it’s given me new life. I’m excited about it and just so full of joy to be able to get back to doing what I do, and doing it with joy. 


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