Why Dwight Howard will thrive in Atlanta

dwight-howard

Anyone that had the pleasure of watching the NBA in 2005 to around 2011, got to witness the old Dwight Howard. Now if you didn’t get to see Howard in his prime, honestly you’re missing out. The 2000-2010 years was a great time for basketball period, and Howard was no exception. Contrary to how it seems now, Howard is one of the best players of the 2000’s and in Orlando’s history besting out greats like Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O’Neal.

Dwight Howard is the Orlando Magic resume:

  • Career leader in points (11,435)
  • Career leader in free throw makes and attempts (3,336/5,727=58.2%)
  • Career leader in total rebounds (8,072)
  • Career leader in blocked shots (1,344)
  • 3x Defensive Player of the Year
  • 5x All-NBA First Team
  • 6x All-star
  • An NBA Finals Appearance

Why are any of these statistics important? They serve as a reminder or informer of how dominant Howard could and can be.

Howard came into the NBA out of high school so age isn’t the biggest factor (he’s 30). Howard was dominant on an Orlando Magic team in which he was the focal point. He was always fed in the low post and was surrounded by shooters (the likes of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, J.J. Reddick  and Hedo Türkoglu). Dwight’s game is dependent on catching the ball down low and going to work. He relies heavily on the guards to get him the ball and in Orlando they did. However, when he departed from Orlando he went to a team where NO ONE should expect the ball.

Howard attempted to create another Laker Super-team with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Kobe was the unquestioned focal point of Los Angeles, and Howard did not receive as many touches as he needs due to Kobe’s high usage and shot attempts. Then he went to Houston to play with James Harden and The Rockets. This was not much of a difference for Howard however. Harden is also a ball-stopper, much like Kobe, preferring to play iso basketball. Despite all of that Dwight has still been pretty darn good, averaging a double-double in points and rebounds EVERY YEAR he has been in the league.

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Now we fast forward to the present, and Howard is back in his home in Atlanta. Atlanta’s identity is to spread the ball around and getting everyone involved. A system Howard previously thrived in. The Hawks were only missing a go-to scorer to give the ball to down the stretch and I think Howard alongside Millsap could be the answer. Dwight is surrounded by shooters like Korver and Kent Bazemore to name a couple. Dwight has all of the elements he had in Orlando but Atlanta arguably has a better team than that Orlando team in 2009. The front court of Howard and Millsap will be dangerous in the Eastern Conference as well.

I can see Dwight averaging around 20 points and 13 rebounds, somewhat returning to original form. I see him leading Atlanta to a top 5 seed. Will Howard thrive in Atlanta? Or will he destroy the locker room and live up to the stigma over him already? Only time will tell. Howard has his third life. I hope he takes full advantage.

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