John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor
The Pistons probably won't be able to reap the full rewards of whatever Andre Drummond learns from Hakeem for at least another year or two.
The Los Angeles Clippers, on the other hand, stand to benefit handsomely from The Dream if Blake Griffin listens and observes as carefully as he should.
At this point, Griffin's low-post game consists mostly of quick spins and baby hooks that, in combination, aren't exactly pleasing to the eye. He's incredibly coordinated for a guy his size, but he's still prone to losing his balance (and the ball) when operating with his back to the basket.
In that sense, Blake could be in for a bit of a breakthrough under Olajuwon, who recently told Maurice Bobb of Slam:
From a basketball perspective, I teach them the joy of turning basketball into a science. For example, if you know about construction and engineering, if you want to do some remodeling and you have a load-bearing wall, you cannot move it. But when you have a column that’s not load-bearing, there’s lots of possibilities because it moves. So when we create a move in basketball, you make a player shift his weight to his load-bearing leg and then you attack that leg because now he cannot move. When I work with young players and see the expressions on their face, it’s a true joy for me. They realize that basketball is a science.
Not that Griffin is at all hopeless in the post at this point. According to Synergy Sports, Blake ranked among the top 50 most efficient post-up players in the NBA last season, with an average of 0.88 points per play.
Olajuwon, though, might finally be able to teach the three-time All-Star how better to regulate the use of his prodigious physical gifts—by exercising patience, by changing gears rather than going full throttle all the time, by properly positioning his feet and legs to get to Point B rather than bowling his way there, and so on.
And if Hakeem can teach Blake a thing or two about protecting the paint, then the Clips may yet have themselves a bona fide two-way big man to pair with Chris Paul in their pursuit of the Larry O'Brien Trophy.