It hurts me to ask the question because I am a huge supporter of Dwight Howard and I think he has the ability to be one of the greatest NBA centers in the history of the game, unfortunately, his antics over the past two seasons has effected his play and my perception of him.
I agree that Howard has all the skill and ability to be dominant, but he lacks the mentality and the mental toughness that will make him great at his position. If I had to pick between Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, I would choose Bynum in a heartbeat; not because I think Bynum is a better player but because Bynum is far superior when its boils down to being tougher and more dominant on the court. The problem I have with Dwight Howard is that he’s just plain old soft; I don’t understand how a player his size isn’t the most feared person in the league.
— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) November 29, 2012
Shaquille O’Neal said it best when he stated that Howard must transform his demeanor to a more serious and aggressive character if he expects to be successful in the NBA. Howard has to understand that having skill and athleticism are only part of becoming a successful NBA player. A player his size should impose fear and intimidation onto the opponent, unfortunately, no one is afraid of him. Shaquille O’Neal never had a problem with imposing fear, not only would he dominate, he was feared during the prime of his career. Shaq was a beast, simple as that – he talked the talk and walked the walk.
The Orlando Magic Assistant Coach, Patrick Ewing, is the main reason Dwight Howard found success in Orlando. It was Ewing who showed Howard how to play in the middle and how to effectively use his size in the post position. Howard respected Ewing because he is one of the NBA’s greatest centers and he dominated on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. The Lakers don’t have any NBA greats on the coaching staff to mentor Howard and teach him how to perform at a high level on the floor. I doubt if Howard has any respect for the assistant coaching staff in LA and that could be the underlying problem.
During Howard’s career in Orlando, he was the focal point of the offense, Orlando played mostly a HI-LO type of offense, where either guard dumped the ball down to the low-post and Howard went to work. The Mike D’antoni offense is geared more towards a pick-and-roll offense and freeing up shooters. Dwight Howard is far from a shooter and this is the reason the system is failing horribly. As a member of the Magic, Howard averaged more than 20 points and 12 rebounds per game, and he was an All-NBA Defensive and Offensive team member. This season, Howard’s scoring average is down and his impact is less received on the dysfunctional Lakers team yet he is earning more than 19 million dollars this year. In Howard’s defense, he is playing on a team where three of the starting five players are on the decline in regards to talent and Kobe Bryant isn’t exactly the player you expect to dish out more than four assists per game even though he has the ball more than any player on the team.
But Dwight Howard has leverage, hes going to be a free agent, which means if things go sour in L.A, he can jump ship to another team. All indications are showing Howard will leave L.A, as long as Mike D’antoni is the head coach and calling the offense, Howard will be out of place. If the Lakers decide to get rid of D’antoni early, the organization may be under obligation to continue paying his salary, depending on the contract agreement. The Lakers organization will find themselves in the same predicament as they were with the Mike Brown debacle, Brown continues to receive his coaching salary. I would argue the Lakers would have a better record if Mike Brown remained the head coach, his offense could have been tailored to fit Howard.
If Howard shows indications of showing interest in other teams, it will be in the L.A organizations best interest to entertain trades for Howard. Howard has to be the number one option on the team, with Kobe Bryant shooting the most field goal attempts of his career, its clear Howard isn’t getting enough touches. I think Kobe and Howard can coexist but Kobe may have to watch some old game footage of him along side the original superman, (Shaq), then again, the Zen Master was also the head coach. The underlying fact is, Dwight Howard needs to be more assertive, vocal, and aggressive, or he will be another “should’ve been, could’ve been” waste of NBA talent.
What do you think? Is Dwight overpaid, overrated, both or neither? Vote in this poll and comment below.