NBA Roundtable

Olajuwon Works With Kobe + Thabeet

In General NBA on September 29, 2009 at 10:32 am

Great article on MyFoxHouston

Olajuwon said Bryant reached out to him for help with his moves in the post.

“He gave me the biggest compliment,” Olajuwon said. “(He said) You are the best (at the) mid-post and post move.

“He wanted me to show my moves to him.”

Olajuwon said his style of play in the paint is really suited for a guy like Bryant.

“In my mind most of my moves for a guy (with) that agility can use it better than the big guy,” Olajuwon said. “Because my moves are not really for the big guy.

“It’s for the guards and small forwards. So he would benefit most on the post because of his agility.

“It was so much fun because how he picks it up. I worked with him for two hours, step by step.”

Olajuwon expects Bryant to be even better than he was last season when he led the Lakers to the NBA Championship.

“Adding those moves to his game, watch out for him this year,” Olajuwon said. “I understand his dedication. His desire to win and stay on top.

“That’s what I respect most about him.”

Great decision by Kobe Bryant to reach out and attempt to improve his post moves further. With Ron Artest now on the team, there’s a good chance that Kobe will be pitted against the physically weaker opposing wing more often than ever.

Hasheem Thabeet

The article was primarily about him so here’s a look at that

Thabeet and his agents asked Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon for a personal workout and the two got together for a pair of sessions in the Houston area.

Thabeet’s goal was to sharpen his skills and tap into the knowledge of one of greatest centers of all-time and who better to work with than Olajuwon.

“It’s always a joy for me when a great, potential talent would like to improve their footwork,” Olajuwon said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. It’s a huge compliment for me that somebody realized the value of their post moves and trying to pattern their game after my game.”

Thabeet said getting the opportunity to work with a Hall of Famer like Olajuwon was a dream come true.

“I still watch his tapes,” Thabeet said. “He was one of the best players of all-time.

“To spend a couple of hours with him (Friday) and (Saturday), I think it’s going to help me a lot. He taught me a lot of stuff that I never thought of.”

The article continues

“Just come out here and work hard, that’s what he did,” Thabeet said. “He came out here for school and ended up having a great career.

“He’s one of idols. I’m going to work hard. I believe anything can happen. I believe I can always make it as long as I work hard.”

Olajuwon understands why Thabeet looks up to him.

“It’s natural,” Olajuwon said. “We play the same position. He’s a big guy, a real big guy.

“It’s great (for him) to see somebody who has traveled that path before and also he can benefit a lot from that person.

“I think it’s a win-win situation. I think it’s an obligation.”

The giving of his time and basketball knowledge to men like Thabeet is Olajuwon’s way of giving back to the game.

“It’s part of my responsibility,” Olajuwon said. “If somebody reaches out to you and you know you have that to offer and you know (he) can benefit so much from that.”

Hakeem Olajuwon was quite taken with Thabeet’s game + athleticism

Olajuwon is one of the few big men in NBA history whose game centered around finesse and power. It was a style that helped Olajuwon lead the Rockets to a pair of NBA titles in the mid-90’s.

Olajuwon believes Thabeet can develop a similar style of play.

“Right now he’s a shot-blocker,” Olajuwon said. “That’s instinctive. You don’t teach that.

“The defensive part of the game, he can be a force already”

But Olajuwon said he doesn’t want to see Thabeet be limited to just being a defensive player.

“He has a tremendous opportunity to be an offensive player because of his height advantage (7’3), his skills,” Olajuwon said. “He runs the floor.

“He’s agile. ”

Olajuwon believes the sky is the limit for Thabeet.

“Right now he has the opportunity to be whatever,” Olajuwon said. “Because he’s unique to have that kind of size and that touch.”

Thabeet is thrilled with Olajuwon’s compliments.

“It means a lot to me,” Thabeet said. “He comes from the same background as me. He definitley knows what it takes to get there.”

Fantastic decision by Thabeet to reach out to Hakeem. Hopefully this will help his offensive game … there were reports of a soft shooting touch on a midrange jumper around the time of the draft too, so it sounds like Thabeet has some solid offensive potential. Not of Hakeem’s level, but perhaps comparable to an Emeka Okafor’s level.

Anyway, I haven’t seen much of him yet — although he does look like a good weapon in the pick and roll — so we’ll see more once the season starts.

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