What if I told you there was a guy 6’11 / 265 that played in the NBA? He had broad shoulders and 0% body fat? What if I told you in 4 of his last 5 playoff games he scored 5 points, 5 points, 6 points, and 7 points?
This looks and smells like a ’30 For 30’ on Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard has to be one of the game’s great enigmas. Loved by few, hated by many. When he leaves teams, fans usually shrug their shoulders and say, “ehhhh”. Dwight isn’t hated because he’s a jerk. He’s hated because of his effort.
Dwight Howard appears to be a guy happy with his life. In a strange way, his happiness rubs people the wrong way. In the layup line before a playoff game he’s smiling, goofing off with teammates. That might be ok on a Wednesday night in December vs Brooklyn. Fans want to see focus. They want to see a guy dialed in, getting ready to crush his opponent. (Exhibit A: Russell Westbrook pregame).
Dwight has been in the NBA 12 years and still has no low post move. There is no up-and-under (Tim Duncan), no smooth jump hook (Marc Gasol), no backing you down to execute a spin move baseline and hitting a 4 foot jump shot (Hakeem Olajuwon). Dwight’s move has always been, get close enough to dunk, and lately even that move is failing him. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the Hawks this season and Dwight gets the ball within dunking range of the rim, goes up, gets fouled and can’t even finish the dunk. Naturally, he then misses both free throws.
During this post season vs the Wizards, Coach Bud of the Hawks has chosen to keep Dwight on the bench in crunch time. The Hawks contend their offense has looked better down the stretch without him on the floor. Hard to argue. Game Five last night, the Hawks were (-4) with Dwight on the floor. There is no reason that number shouldn’t be (+15). Throw in the fact that Dwight shoots about 66% from the free throw line, and you see why Coach Bud does not want Dwight on the floor in crunch time. By the way, anybody notice how efficient the Houston Rockets offense has become without Dwight Howard in the mix?
This is your $23 Million Dollar Man Atlanta. Relegated to the bench in the 4th quarter of playoff games. It’s not like Howard is facing a defensive juggernaut like Rudy Gobert. He’s going up against a guy he groomed while in Orlando, Marcin Gortat.
It’s really hard to explain all of this. On paper Dwight Howard looks like a dominant force. It has to be his heart or his head that is holding him back at this point in his career. What If I Told You It Was Both…
Written by Andrew Rosenberg