New Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard had great success his first five NBA seasons, with the Orlando Magic, collaborating with Hedo Turkoglu.
Howard sees a parallel on his new team’s roster that is very appealing.
“Nic (Batum) and Hedo are very tall guards, they both shoot the 3-ball well, and they both like to attack to the right. That’s their thing” offensively, Howard said.
“They make those great passes going right and Hedo always found me in the right spots: lobs, post passes, pocket passes. Nic is the same way. I’ve watched a ton of film on him. They’re very similar.”
Batum came to the Hornets two seasons ago in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. The team was looking for a versatile scorer-playmaker; someone similar to then-Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who the Hornets signed to an offer sheet the Jazz matched.
Howard’s most obvious benefits to the Hornets will be rebounding and rim protection. But this team hasn’t had a post scorer who could force opponents to double-team since Al Jefferson left for the Indiana Pacers in 2016.
So a two-man game between Howard in the post and Batum along the perimeter certainly will be explored.
“The one way I’d say Nic is a little bit better than Hedo was at the time is defense – in checking the bigger guards and even the forwards,” Howard said. “The biggest connections for me are (point guard) Kemba (Walker), because he’ll have the ball in his hands most of the time, and Nic.”