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SI NOW

Author:

DOMINIQUE WILKINS

The Hall of Famer and Hawks vice president of operations discusses expectations for free-agent arrival Dwight Howard in Atlanta and what Kevin Durant will mean for the Warriors.

MAGGIE GRAY:Do you expect Dwight Howard to lead the Hawks to a championship?

DOMINIQUE WILKINS: We always expect a player of his caliber to come in and take the team to that next level, but you don't want to look too far ahead because the players are going to have to build chemistry. It's a new team, new structure, new system. Once he gets used to it, I think he's going to do outstanding in this program. We're fortunate to have him. He's going to bring a bit more physicality, better rebounding and better defense.

MG:What do you think was the biggest factor in the team going from Al Horford [who, after nine seasons, left the Hawks for the Celtics] to a question mark in Dwight Howard?

DW: I don't think it's a question mark. If you look at his past, even on teams where he wasn't very happy or they didn't give him the ball much, he was still averaging around 13 or 14 points a game and 12 rebounds. For a lot of guys, that's All-Star status. I think he's going to bring a much more enthusiastic attitude to our team.

MG:What do you think the biggest obstacle will be for the Cavs to repeat as champs?

DW: Everyone is chasing them. It's always tougher that second year because you've got a target on your back.

MG:With Kevin Durant moving to Golden State, do you think they will be better than the LeBron--Dwyane Wade--Chris Bosh trio that we saw in Miami?

DW: That Miami team had some big [guys] who could play and defend the basket. Offensively the Warriors are definitely better with Kevin Durant, but they lost a lot of key big people on defense. They have too many shooters on that team, so somebody is going to have to sacrifice his offense for the betterment of the team. I think it's going to have to be Klay Thompson.

For more of Wilkins's interview, plus the SI Now archives, go to SI.com/sinow

"I think he's going to bring a much more enthusiastic attitude to our team."

—Dominique Wilkins

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