Jeff Shultz at the AJC took time out to interview Dwight Howard while he was in Atlanta this weekend. First of all, Dwight let it out that Josh Smith is getting married this weekend. Congratulations Josh Smith! Marriage is a wonderful thing and settling down has a way of taming the wild. I wish Josh all the best in his new family life and a renewed focus on his basketball game. Dwight will be Josh’s best man. Seeing how close these two are just makes it sting a little more than Atlanta missed out on getting the hometown star back in 2004 because of one digit.
Next, Dwight had some interesting comments about the Hawks.
On whether O’Neal would be a good fit for the Hawks: “I don’t know. I like their lineup now. I know a lot of people get mad and say they’re not big on the inside, but they’re a big team. They’ve got big guards. They’ve got big forwards. They’ve got a flying forward [Smith]. So it doesn’t really matter about having a seven-footer.
His comments were made when asked if Shaq would be a good fit for the Hawks. I know some will say that he is just saying this because he feasts on the Hawks. He did that in the playoffs, but in the regular season, the Hawks actually held Dwight six percentage points under his season average in field goal percentage. I like that he calls Josh Smith a “flying forward”.
I feel that Dwight is absolutely right though. I have nothing against adding a center, but with Al and Zaza, the Hawks are not in bad shape at this position contrary to popular opinion. Where I feel the Hawks have missed is with their perimeter defense. This was the area that was poor last season, and the Hawks are basically relying on Jeff Teague taking a step foward to improve it. Teague has the length to be a difference maker defensively and averaged a block per game in summer league play, but relying on him at this point is very risky.
Does anyone think Dwight may try to force his way to the Hawks when he becomes a free agent in 2012? Dwight is a big time Hawks fan, even though he plays for the Magic. I really feel that if he has a choice, he would come to Atlanta.