NBA / Jan 15, 2009 / 4:29 pm

Dikembe to Yao: Stop taking charges and block more shots

YaoYao is blocking 1.8 shots per game…

Who would have guessed that the first signs of a rift in the Houston Rockets locker room wouldn’t involve Ron Artest or Rafer Alston, but in fact mild-mannered Yao Ming and Officer Friendly Dikembe Mutombo?

A day after we learned of Yao’s (alleged) desire to see Tracy McGrady shipped out, today’s Houston Chronicle has an item from Mutombo regarding Yao’s defensive shortcomings:

Don’t count Dikembe Mutombo among those who are applauding Yao Ming’s recent penchant for stepping in front of driving opponents to draw a charge.

“I’m very critical,” Mutombo said. “Those are bull. I told him that. He’s too tall to be taking charges. He needs to learn to play defense without using his chest. You don’t block a shot with your chest.

Maybe Yao is listening to Shane (Battier). Maybe he wants to be a guard or something. Maybe he’s planning to lead the league in charges. So I have to stop him. I have to teach him to lead the league in blocked shots, not charges.”

Without the availability of a sound clip or video of the interview, I’d have to go off what I know about Dikembe, and there’s a strong chance he said what he did more in a playful, ribbing manner than a harshly critical one. But depending on how he approached Yao, this could cause some tension amongst a team that, at 24-16 and in seventh place in the West, already isn’t living up to their preseason expectations. Yao is averaging 1.8 blocks per game — good for 12th in the League — but if he can be humble, he’ll be able to handle some tough love from maybe the greatest shot-blocker the game has ever known.

Source: Houston Chronicle

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    Mutombo is deff rigth about that. How can the tallest player in the league not be close to the top in blocks?

  • E. Marcel

    Deke is making a valid point. I don’t think Dikembe is being disrespetful, he’s just speaking the truth. If he told Yao this before going to the media, then its all good.

  • http://GEE2.com GEE…You can’t see what I can see

    Yea I heard about this. Deke could show Yao a lot of about being tough and playing D.

    In exchange Yao could teach Deke some offensive moves. Never to late to learn even if you 58.

    As far as that poll. Tracy is going to help his team the Most when he gets back. Watch what I say!

  • umps

    the tallest player in the league can’t lead the league in blocks if he’s also the slowest player in the league.

  • Ric Hardwood

    Deke is right, and he might’ve told Yao already but maybe Yao didn’t understand what the hell Mutombo was saying… lol

    seriously tho’ who better to learn shot blocking from than Deke “Mt. Mutombo”. Start blocking some shots and maybe Yao will earn the nickname “The Great Wall”…

  • Ross

    At least Deke isn’t telling McGrady what to do.

  • control

    Yao def has to stop taking charges. It’s just completely retarded seeing some 6’1 170lb guy running into a 7’6 350lb guy and seeing him fall to the ground like he got shot. Yao takes about 30 seconds to fall to the ground anyways. The guy def should be blocking 1-2 more a game, easy.

  • dmitry of jersey

    1.8 blocks is ok considering Yao only plays about 33 minutes.

    what he really needs to do is the big balls dance after he makes a big one.

  • SK

    Mutombo should also tell Yao to use his elbows as personal weapons.

  • E$

    Love a Vet like Deke! no pu$$y footin’

  • rean the block man

    serves you right yao! but i must agree, deke might have said it in a playful manner.

  • dapro

    This isn’t a big deal Dime

    If you know the history of these two players Yao admires Deke and charity work in addition to his work ethic on the court

    Yao’s probably working on his timing right now

  • method526


  • Jei


  • George W Kush Sr

    If Deke was Yao’s size and age, exactly.

    Yao should be blocking more than 1.8 shots, just because of the 1. He should be minimum 2.5-3 blocks, its not like Houston’s defense is one of the best, there’s still penatration and passes are still getting inside to the big men, Yao has opportunities to get more blocks. If his mindset is now to get charges, then for sure he’s not focused on blocking and therefor is being less of a defensive presence than he should be.

    I agree with Mount Mutombo

  • Tony

    Since no one will say it, I will. Who actually understood Dikembe and recorded it down? I would imagine translating the interview would take 5 people a whole day.

  • Ross

    Agreed Tony. Dikembe talks like Cookie Monster.

  • LAballer

    yao is softer than baby butt..im just sayin…

  • bakedbeing

    Deke’s right. Get the eff up off the ground.

  • E$

    Don’t leave your babies around LAballer…..

  • http://www.yahoo.com Bob

    how tall this guy is!If he want to date,maybe they only can find tall girls from some searching sites,as far as i know __TALLLOVING.c om__cute, hot , talented… whatever u can come up with…LOL

  • http://www.nba.com Jay

    Valid point and I don’t see how this counts as a “sign of a rift” within the team. It’s coming from one of the best defensive players of all time, I’m sure Yao would be all ears to listen to what Deke has to say about being a defensive player. Yao doesn’t seem like a big-ego type of guy, so I’m sure he would take constructive criticism well, especially from a guy as experienced as Mutombo.

  • the cynic

    I wonder if the journalist could even understand the words coming out of Deke, he probably just came up with a bunch of ish

  • fLaVa

    i agree with Deke that Yao needs to block more shots but to be a better defensively its important to occationally try to take a charge, to give the offensive a little something different, something they’re not use to so i do think a mix of a little both taking charges and blocking shots in needed. But as big as Yao is.. he should attempt to block more shots than take charges

  • doc

    I dont see how this would cause a rift.Deke told the truth.Get your tall ass down there and man up.

  • Doog

    Notwithstanding the posturing, it seems to me that a case could be made that charges likely are more valuable than blocked shots. When Yao draws a charge, his team automatically gets the ball (contrast this with the league high defensive rebound rate of ~70% for Bosh) and a player on the opposing team is assigned a foul.

  • wwill

    This is some actually productive criticism. All that other crap about being soft or what not, is bull. This right here about blocking shots is legit. Dude is 7’6. Should be swatting more than 1.8/gm.

  • Bron42 aka Haters drink my bath water

    yao only blocks 1.8 a game not cuz his minutes, but because all the other attempts he goes after are guys dunking all on his gumby blockhead shaped skull..the guy isn’t a defensive figure, hes like one of those ben wallace blowup dolls they cell to train against…just there to got to the rack on

  • jjankechu

    I’m with deke on this one, but you can lay this shit at the feet of JVG + Ewing


  • karizmatic

    Dikembe is right. I also think that if Yao could step up his shot blocking he could really add to the toughness factor if the Rockets team and in his personal game. As it is everyone tries to dunk on Yao because they know he isn’t really looking for the shot block like he should. Not that 1.8 isn’t bad but you would think he could do better than that. He needs to be more aggressive on D in general in my opinion and blocking a shot is a more aggressive move than looking for a charge.

  • Tha Boddy

    Yao needs to listen to Dikembe hell Mutombo has to have at least 5 decades of basketball knowledge and that’s b4 he even entered the league

  • http://www.youtube.com/blackmac95 lamoni

    about time Yao is 7’6 and yet he isnt even in the top 10 for REBOUNDING & BLOCKs? i think he is the most overated/overhyped Centers to ever play the game

    he was a waist of a draft pick & he is always being voted as a starter in the ASG, due to his Royal like popularity in china( from where most his votes come from) he just sucks

    Dikembe is the best shot blocker ever he nearly blocked 3x as much shots as Yao did, Dikembe once recorded 4.6 BPG HOW CRAZY IS THAT!