Dwight Howard: 3 Things He Can Learn from Shaquille O'Neal

Hunter Konsens@HunterKonsensCorrespondent IIJanuary 23, 2012

Dwight Howard: 3 Things He Can Learn from Shaquille O'Neal

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    Earlier this month, new TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal went on national television and voiced his opinion that Los Angeles Lakers' center Andrew Bynum, not Dwight Howard, is the best center in the NBA.

    "He’s the best big man in the game right now," O’Neal exclaimed last Monday. "He’s the only big man in the league that’s playing like a true big man."

    Nobody knows what Shaq's true intentions were when he made this bold statement, but Dwight Howard has an idea.

    "He's mad about 'Superman,' " Howard told reporters about eight hours before his Orlando Magic faced the Los Angeles Lakers at Amway Center. "I didn't know he made it up. I didn't know Superman came from Shaquille O'Neal."

    Despite this obvious diss on the Orlando Magic center, there are still a few things the young "Superman" can learn from the elder "Superman."

Leadership Mentality

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    If there is one word to describe NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, it would be leader.

    Not only did this former behemoth under the basket earn three NBA Finals MVPs, but he led three different organizations to the NBA Finals.

    O'Neal's departure from the NBA world has been extremely noticeable, as there are no centers currently in the NBA to be the heir to the role of the most dominant big man.

    Well, except for the player O'Neal disgraced on national television, Dwight Howard.

    However, if Howard wants to become the next "Shaquille O'Neal," he needs to possess better leadership skills.

    O'Neal had the uncanny ability to know when it was time to joke around and when to be serious. Howard has not yet mastered this quality, as there have been many times where critics have blasted D12 for goofing off in an exhibition match. 

    Sure, Howard is still young at the age of 26, but O'Neal already obtained a championship ring at this stage of his career.

Free-Throw Shooting

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    If there has been one knock on Dwight Howard's game, it's been his inability to hit free-throws with any sort of consistency.

    Since joining the league in the 2004 NBA Draft, Howard's struggles at the charity stripe have become a serious problem that needs a solution. Orlando has contacted special shooting coaches to work with the young center, but these attempts have fallen flat.

    This season, Howard is averaging a dismal 45 percent from the line—much lower than his career-average of 59 percent.

    However, if there is anyone that could convince Howard how important foul shots are, it is Shaquille O'Neal.

    Throughout his career in the NBA, Shaq was constantly on the butt end of jokes due to his poor free-throw shooting. Heck, even the movie Scary Movie 4 ridiculed O'Neal for this.

    There is no doubt that O'Neal could spark a fire under Dwight Howard to improve at the free-throw line.

The Idea That the Grass Isn't Always Greener on the Other Side

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    Throughout his 19-year NBA career, O'Neal played for six different organizations. 

    It is very unusual when a Hall of Fame player suits up for three or four different teams during his tenure in the association—let alone six.

    Whether it was from lack of chemistry with teammates, disagreements with coaches or contract issues, Shaq always found a reason to want out of a city.

    His career started with the Orlando Magic when they drafted him with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. O'Neal was supposed to be the face of the city of Orlando and lead the Magic to numerous successful campaigns.

    This was the city where he was going to leave his legacy.

    However, money problems got in the way and the bright lights of L.A. were just too tempting.

    When O'Neal arrived in Los Angeles, he made quite the splash. The dominant center led the Lakers to three championships, while becoming one of LA's most beloved figures.

    This was the city where he was going to leave his legacy.

    However, personal problems with coach Phil Jackson and star Kobe Bryant led to O'Neal being traded to the young Miami Heat.

    Once arriving in South Beach, the duo of Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O'Neal made waves as they won the Heat's first franchise championship.

    This was the city where he was going to leave his legacy.

    However, a falling out with the Miami Heat front office led to O'Neal's departure from the squad.

    He would waste the "twilight" years of his career chasing rings with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics

    Dwight Howard should do some research on O'Neal's career, as his years in basketball are a perfect testament to the old notion that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.