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Dwight Howard: Not an Elite Player Yet

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks down in the fourth quarter as the Magic trail the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals on June 14, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
C. J. KrasykCorrespondent IJune 16, 2009

Last night in Orlando, the Los Angles Lakers finished off the Magic in five, which led Jon Barry on ABC's post-game show to say you can't win a championship being a jump shooting team.

He is right. The Magic are a jump shooting team and I think I have the answer as to why: Dwight Howard.

He has one post move. One. Dribble, spin right, baby hook.

Yes, he did show some flashes of other moves in Game Five, but he is not constant with any of them. He has amazing upper body strength but no lower body. He is a bench press warrior.

Maybe he should become a squat warrior. I am not going to go and label him soft like Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol were last year. I think Howard is a strong guy. He just isn't strong enough in the right areas.

Last year, after the Lakers got flat out beat up by the Celtics, Odom, Gasol, and Kobe Bryant decided to get a renewed dedication to the weight room. Howard needs to have that dedication to get his lower body stronger and develop some post moves.

Until he gets a go-to move, he will continue to struggle and his teams will continue to fall short.

He also needs to learn to keep the ball up high. Repeatedly during the finals and the rest of the playoffs, the guards were able to get in and strip him.

Free throw shooting should also be looked at. He says he is working and I believe him. But his form is what is killing him. He is always short-arming the ball. Shaquille O'Neal has learned over the years that you have to get extension, arc, and get some touch on foul shots. Shaq is still poor at times, but even at his worst,  made the big ones in clutch situations.

Howard bricked two huge freebies that would have made the series 2-2 and would have kept the Magic in this series.

He has the potential to be one of the greatest big men ever.

The question now is, does he have the dedication to get in the gym and work his tail off to get there?

Right now he is not an elite player, but the story for Dwight Howard is far from over.

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