For two seasons, veteran NBA guard Jason Terry saw the Dwight Howard-Houston Rockets marriage first-hand, as he was a teammate of the center’s in Houston. Terry, who now plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and said that along with the Howard’s health, the team just couldn’t gel.
“I just think chemistry-wise in year two, not having Coach McHale and Dwight being in a contract year, I just think we got a little distracted,” Terry said. “So we didn’t have the success we had the year previous, and you can give that strictly to chemistry, I mean the chemistry was just awful.”
In the off-season, the 30-year-old Howard signed with the Atlanta Hawks, and Terry expects to see a much better version of the once dominant center.
“I think you will see a refreshed Dwight,” Terry said. “I think he has something to prove. I’ve seen his off-season thus far, and he looks like he’s in shape and he’s healthy.”
In conversations with Howard, Terry felt like the often-traveled center was very receptive on the critiques he’d give him in an effort to become an NBA champion someday, but he also said Howard had valid points for the cause for his frustrations in Houston.
“His thing was if I’m going to do all these things, just let me touch [the ball], just a little bit, and I think we missed a lot of opportunities where we could have gotten him the ball in a position where he could either dunk it or go to the free throw line,” Terry said. “Now making the free throws that would be on him, that was something he needs to continue to work on and make them when he was there. Again, those opportunities weren’t presenting themselves, and I think that’s why he’s not back in Houston.”
The 2011 NBA Champion also talked about Houston’s other star, James Harden, and his continued evolution as a leader.
“It’s one thing to do it on the court, but you also have to do it in the locker room, and it’s not about leading, it’s about how you lead. You can’t just do it sometimes,” Terry said about Harden. “I just want him to be more consistent with his leadership. He was always a hard worker. I talked to him about his progression as a leader and what I seen in Dirk Nowitzki when he had an MVP run in ’07, and we talked about his leadership, growth and maturity throughout his career, and I told him Dirk was a hard worker, but until Dirk became vocal and guys listened to him and respected him for his opinions than he didn’t really become the leader of that team and it took him some years. And I told James just to stay the course, understand the process and understand you have to become more vocal to be the leader that you want to be for your team, and he’s made strides in the category.”
As for Harden’s new signature shoes that just dropped, Terry seemed to think he needed to evolve those too.
“I don’t know what kind of boots those were. Are we hooping in those or are we rock climbing? I don’t know,” Terry laughed. “But hey, if he can still put up the numbers he’s put up the last three years in them big boys, he should be alright.”