Dwight Howard on Mike Budenholzer: ‘I love how he holds me accountable every single day’

September 26, 2016 ATLANTA: Dwight Howard takes some questions during an interview on Hawks Media Day at the W Atlanta Hotel on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

Dwight Howard takes some questions during an interview on Hawks media day in September. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

Dwight Howard again said he is thankful to be with the Hawks and with a coaching staff that holds him accountable.

Following the Hawks’ 117-96 win over the 76ers Saturday night, I asked Howard for his thoughts about the team’s training and coaching staff. Here was his answer:

“It’s the best,” Howard said. “It’s the best. So grateful to be in this situation. They’ve done an amazing job, the training staff, the coaching staff. Bud has done an amazing job. We have a growing relationship that has been great so far. We are really understanding each other. And it’s good. I love having him as a coach. From the first time I met him until now, we’ve had a great connection. We want to continue that. I love how he holds me accountable every single day to be the guy for the team to lead them in the right direction. When I’m not doing the right things, he is on me. When I am doing the right things, he pushes me to do more. It’s just a great feeling.”

Howard leads the Hawks in rebounding at 12.4 per game. He is third in scoring at 15.2 points per game, behind Paul Millsap (16.7) and Dennis Schroder (16.3). Howard had his NBA-leading seventh double-double in the win over the 76ers. He has had seven straight double-digit rebound games and eight overall this season.

The Hawks are off to a 7-2 start with a favorable schedule. Howard also mentioned accountability when discussing the work the team has done in preparation for the season.

“I think we’ve close to where we can be as a team,” Howard said. “One thing I can say is that this group is hungry. Coach is holding us accountable every single day to get better, continue to grow as a team. We want that. I think all of us want to win really bad. It starts, like I’ve been saying all year, in practice, in the weight room, all the little things that people don’t see. That’s where it starts.”

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