Serge Ibaka and 5 NBA Players Who Need Hakeem Olajuwon's Help
It’s a well-known fact that today’s NBA lacks the dominant power forwards and centers that it once had.
The league isn’t filled with dominant post players like Karl Malone, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing any more.
That’s one of the biggest reasons why NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon has offered a helping hand.
During his playing days, Olajuwon was known as the best offensive post player in the league.
Now, Olajuwon is known as a mentor for today’s NBA players.
Here’s a list of six other players who are in dire need of Olajuwon’s help.
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As a Kentucky Wildcat, Anthony Davis dominated college basketball with his defensive presence—the 6’10” PF/C averaged nearly five blocks per game.
Although Davis’s defense was a large part of why he was selected with the first overall pick in this year’s draft, his potential on the offensive end attracted NBA teams, too.
As a Wildcat, Davis displayed an unpolished offensive game—a lot of his points came in transition and from offensive rebounds.
In order to live up to the expectations of becoming the next Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan, Davis will need the help of one of the best offensive post players in NBA history, Hakeem Olajuwon.
Davis already has good shooting form because he was once a 6’3” guard, but developing an array of post moves will do wonders for him in the NBA.
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This summer, JaVale McGee signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Denver Nuggets.
While it’s true that McGee possesses elite athleticism and size that allows him to be a defensive force, his offensive skills are raw at best—according to mysynergysports.com, most of McGee’s points come off of cuts.
With the help of Hakeem Olajuwon, McGee will develop an offensive arsenal that will allow him to live up to his lucrative deal with the Nuggets.
It’s possible that McGee will be known less for his bone-headed plays and more for his production on both sides of the court.
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In terms of offensive production, Josh Smith had the best year of his career, averaging 18.8 PPG.
Although he has improved over the years, Smith’s offensive arsenal is rather unthreatening to opponents.
At 25.3 percent, most of Smith’s offensive plays are in spot-up situations, according to mysynergysports.com, but he is inefficient because he only scores 0.81 PPP (points-per-possession) off spot-up jumpers, placing him at 238th in the league.
Smith can turn his offensive misfortunes into valuable production if he works with Hakeem Olajuwon.
Currently, Smith shoots 39 percent in post-up situations.
Nonetheless, practice sessions with “The Dream” will allow Smith to finally become a perennial All-Star—Smith will become a threat on the offensive end, as much as he is an intimidating force on the defensive end.
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Over the past two seasons, Blake Griffin has amazed the basketball world with his world-class athleticism.
While his athleticism has served him well, Griffin relies heavily on it to succeed on the offensive end.
In fact, according to mysynergysports.com, Griffin scores 1.42 PPP in transition, one of the best in the NBA.
Griffin has shown a semblance of a post game in his short time in the NBA, but it is reasonable to say that it’s still underdeveloped—he scores 0.83 PPP in post-up situations which ranks him 71st in the league, according to mysynergysports.com.
Working with Hakeem Olajuwon and developing a polished post game will allow Griffin to become a more complete player.
Not only will it benefit him now, but it will also give him an advantage in the future when his athleticism wears away with age.
With an improved offensive arsenal, Griffin will be an unstoppable force for years to come, allowing the Los Angeles Clippers to become a perennial title contender.
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Kevin Durant is already considered as an elite scoring threat in the NBA.
However, Durant relies heavily on his jump shot to produce offensively, and the numbers prove this to be true.
According to mysynergysports.com, Durant scores 1.18 PPP from spot-up situations, 1.04 PPP off screens, and 1.31 PPP of hand-offs—he’s in the top 25 in the league in each of these categories.
Although Durant’s jump shot has made him lethal, developing a post game will allow him to be even more intimidating.
Dirk Nowitzki, like Durant, thrived on his jump shot for a large part of his career, but when he developed a post game, he was unstoppable on his way to winning an NBA championship in 2011.
If Durant works with Hakeem Olajuwon, his fate may become similar to that of Nowitzki and he may capture his first title.
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After hitting all 11 of his field goal attempts in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Serge Ibaka showed signs of a great offensive game.
Ibaka’s hot jump shooting didn’t translate well in the NBA Finals, as he averaged only 7.0 PPG on 42.4 percent shooting from the field.
According to mysynergysports.com, only 4.8 percent of Ibaka’s offensive possessions occurred in the post, where he scored 0.79 PPP, ranking him at 94th in the league.
With the help of Olajuwon, Ibaka’s value will skyrocket—not only will teams make adjust their offenses because of him, but they will also be forced to prepare their defense for a polished post scorer, too.
Olajuwon’s help will not only benefit Ibaka, but it will also be advantageous to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a jump shooting team that lacks a reliable post presence.