The real reason Dwight Howard is not the best center in the NBA and why the Lakers should think twice before re-signing him

As usual, everyone is asking the wrong questions.

A mere few hours after Dwight Howard gave his “Woe is me” press conference, prompting everyone with a microphone, keyboard, broadcast and opinion to ask whether he would re-sign in Los Angeles next season, I preferred to ask a far, more relevant question.

If you were the Los Angeles Lakers, would you re-sign Dwight Howard?

Dwight and MitchI mean, why would you?  Let’s put aside the fact that when teammates Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and others went down to injury, Dwight failed to manage a single post-season victory, having been handed back-to-back twenty point losses on his home floor.  Let’s forget the fact that he was ejected in the final game of the season for throwing an elbow and later cursing at a ref.  Let’s also put aside that Dwight then mouthed off to his boss, General Manager Mitch Kupchak, as he exited the tunnel after said ejection.  So much for remorse.

Now that the embers of their season are almost done smoldering, both Dwight and the Lakers have important, off-season decisions to make, whether they will prolong a romance that shouldn’t have happened in the first place or perpetuate a seemingly, unhealthy relationship for years to come.

Here’s the problem as I see it.

Last summer, Dwight followed in the footsteps of other legendary centers, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, by leaving the team he once played for and heading west young man to don the purple and gold.  The only problem is that Dwight pales in comparison to those great centers, in both drive and in talent.

Dwight-Howard-Lakers-Wallpaper-2880x1800I routinely have this online Dwight debate with another web-dweller who seems to think that Dwight is not only the most dominant player in the game but the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The numbers show otherwise.  Please allow me to retort.

I’ve explained to him that Dwight’s lack of career field goal attempts per game, over which we have a large enough sample size are a product of him a) not having quality post moves, b) not having confidence in said moves (after all, why would he), c) him not demanding the basketball in the paint and even perhaps d) his teammates not having enough confidence in him to get him the ball there consistently.  My opponent in this debate rebuts that Dwight’s lack of field goal attempts are a product of the systems he’s played in, first being coached by Stan Van Gundy and eventually Mike D’Antoni in Los Angeles.

In this case, the numbers do not lie.

This season, Dwight Howard averaged 10.7 field goal attempts per game.  That ranks 81st in the league.

Do you know who averaged more shot attempts per game than him?  Gordon Hayward, Corey Brewer, Marcus Thornton, Jeremy Lin, Ersan Ilyasoa, J.J. Reddick, Brandon Knight, Wesley Matthews, Mike Conley and well, you get the point.  I could name the other 70 players that took more shots per game than Dwight but none of them are getting paid what Dwight is, none of them are as highly touted and none of them should be taking nearly as many shots.  Or at least he shouldn’t be taking so few.

Shaq DuncanDwight Howard has averaged 11.2 field goal attempts per game over his career.  The highest he ever averaged in Orlando in a single season, where he was clearly their best player and focal point of their offense, was 13.4.  Shaquille O’Neal averaged over 16 field goal attempts per game, including between 18 and 20 in his prime and that was when he was playing with Kobe.  Hakeem Olajuwon, the best player on his Houston Rockets team and two-time champion, finished his career averaging 17 field goal attempts per game.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 18.1 field goal attempts per game and that includes three seasons toward the end of his career where he was their third of fourth offensive option.  Heck, Rik Smits averaged more shot attempts per game than Dwight over his career and Smits played with Reggie Miller!

So what does this tell us?   It tells me that Dwight is not a dominant center, or that he could be but he isn’t.  And that’s on him, not any system.  Al Jefferson, Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Tim Duncan, DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Nikola Pekovic, Nikola Vucevic, Roy Hibbert and Marc Gasol ALL technically played the center position this season and ALL of them averaged more shot attempts than Dwight Howard.  That’s right.  Not only did a guy named Greg Monroe take more shots per game than Dwight but TWO GUYS NAMED NIKOLA did as well.

Go ahead and blame Kobe.  Blame D’Antoni.  Blame the system.  You’d be wrong.

Ask not for whom the blame tolls, Dwight.  It tolls for thee.

Until the man who calls himself Superman learns to be an effective post presence and the consistent scorer that he should be, he will not get the shot attempts he deserves, nor should he.

For that reason, Los Angeles re-signing him to a long-term deal should not be a foregone conclusion.  And whichever team that does might want to look at a stat sheet.

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43 Replies to “The real reason Dwight Howard is not the best center in the NBA and why the Lakers should think twice before re-signing him”

  1. As KG would say, “He’s a cancer to his team and to the league.” DH still is and always will be a baby. Sure he has skills, but I wouldn’t want him on my team. He is dependable though. You can depend on him to always let you down.

  2. Snake…

    Does he have the skills?

    Are we sure of that? Or the mindset for that matter?

    Kid’s been in the league for nine years already. That’s long enough.

    Sure, he was rattling off 20-20s on Orlando’s run to the Finals but do you mean to tell me a coach like Pop can’t game plan against him, which he clearly did, to bait him into what he did on Sunday?

    Get in the paint, demand the ball and score. That’s what dominant big men do. And until Dwight does that, he can’t be considered as such.

    At least not in my opinion.

  3. When I said he has skills, I don’t mean that he’s the best at what he does. He has skills. He can rebound and block. His scoring sucks. He can’t hit a shot more than 5 feet from the rim. In the makeup of the NBA right now, I would rate Brook Lopez and most of the European centers over Dwight. But you can be sure that there are a lot of GMs who would take him in a heartbeat and that’s one of the many things wrong with big time pro sports. The NBA is filled with whores, both players and in management.

  4. I agree with you Chris. The Lakers should not sign Dwight, but they will, and everyone in the Western Conference should be happy about it as the Lakers will be mired in mediocrity while he is there.

    On another note, one of my favorite players to watch in the NBA is Steph Curry. He just looks so smooth and effortless. It will be interesting to see how the Spurs try to stop him in the next round if GS can get past the Nuggets. Leonard better have his running shoes on.

    Game on Spurs… Game on.

  5. All of these idiots can point to are his stats but no one points to the fact that he lacks leadership and remains a @@cking mindless ingrate ! If that is what the Lakers were said to be looking for as a leader , when Bryant steps away from the game , then it shows how frigging mind numbingly stupid both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak just happen to be along with their hopelessly retarded fan base .

    Short or long-term Howard was never a great alternative ! Dwight Howard’s game is one dimensional and it’s obvious to see for those who merely observe his play . Because he was on a bad team in Orlando his stats stood there out even more !

    Dwight Howard is best petulant @ss wipe of a center in the NBA , bar none and that is a fact !

    Tophatal ……………

  6. I’ll be the first to admit it that I was wrong in my prediction that Pau Gasol would be the 1st to come out of the closet. He was beaten to to punch by Jason Collins. Now with the pressure off, maybe Pau will do it soon. His season is over and he’s got nothing to do until October.

  7. Willis Reed would of mopped the floor with the bum. (That’s right, I’m that old:)

  8. Chump,

    I really want to argue but it just may be that lil Dwight may not have the goods in the nutsack to get a ring.

    He revealed the depth of his immaturity when Kobe went out and he claimed the Lakers to be ‘his’ team. And we lost.

    And lost again. And again until we’re out.

    Without Kobe to bail the boat the Laker boat sank rather quickly.

    “If” this was Dwight’s team then he would of put up 38 pt, 18 rebound 8 assist numbers playing three different positions and out smiled the entire arena and won those games. Not fouling out when he’s needed most.

    Win. Like Magic did. There was no doubt it was Magic’s team. He didn’t have to proclaim it.

    The world already knew.

    The Lakers remain Kobe’s team because Kobe routinely steps up and wins games with heroic efforts.

    And the world now knows that the Dwight Howard Lakers are pansy shit because Dwight couldn’t step up to create anything but 1st round play off losers.

    Good luck getting talent to join Dwight in LA, as they all now seen it proven that Dwight’s rolling with an an empty nutsack.

  9. Snake…

    Of course there’s gonna be a team out there, whether it’s L.A. or not, that’s going to offer him a max deal, probably more than one.

    But why would they?

    This guy is going to need a strong-willed, no nonsense coach (I thought he had one in Van Gundy) who’s not going to put up with his shit.

    And they should give up on teaching him post moves. The guy has already worked with Hakeem and Patrick. If they can’t get it done, who can?

    This Dwight article got picked up by Fark. One of the commenters over there said that Dwight is a bigger faster Ben Wallace. I don’t know that I could have said it better myself.

  10. Like we discussed yesterday, Fabes, Curry is going to get his against the Spurs but San Anton should still come out on top in that one.

    Pop had a great game plan for Dwight, not that it’s all that difficult.

    The time where he threw that elbow, Pop had basically every single Spur collapse on him. Not that they needed that to stop him from scoring. The guy can’t score anyway. But it frustrated him enough to eventually get tossed.

    You gotta hand it to Pop. Now, like you said, let’s see how he handles Curry.

  11. Al…

    Leadership is immeasurable… or is it. You are right though. We know that he doesn’t have it. The Lakers were a bad fit and as much as everyone thinks him re-signing there is a done deal, I’m not so sure about that.

    What if Pau and Kobe and Mitch all talk and say they don’t want him back. I know Dwight could or might be their future but what if he’s not all he’s cracked up to be, which he clearly isn’t. Then why would they Lakers mortgage their future on an unsure thing.

    And who at this point likes the guy enough to play with him?

    I still say the Nets are the best fit but why would Brooklyn get rid of Lopez and Humphries who combined are more effective than Dwight and probably getting paid less money as well?

  12. Snake…

    Good for Collins.

    I’m not surprised the first professional athlete to announce he’s gay plays in the NBA.

    Think about it. You’ve got smaller rosters, far less machismo and even though the league is replete with alpha males, most of them are two stoned to even give a shit.

  13. Wait, players in the NBA are getting stoned? I must have been asleep for the past 30 years. Are Robert Parish and Dr. J still playing? Is Vin Baker still breathing?

  14. Snake….

    One of my favorite all-time NBA quotes was when Chauncey Billips, or perhaps it was Joe Dumars, who said he thought 60% of the league smoked weed.

    I forget who it was as I was also stoned at the time.

  15. 60% is way too conservative. I would laugh my ass off if it came out that 60% of the NBA was gay. Not that its a bad thing.
    Hey, I never thought that Britney Griner would come out. Its getting so fashionable that I may come out. LOL

  16. Snake…

    We’ve all been waiting for that announcement. Congratulations. Just know that we’ll always have your back.

    Wait, wrong choice of words.

    Oh, and I’ve seen Snake’s wife, everyone. I’m pretty sure he’s straight.

  17. This may be too much information but I am straight, except for that slight curve to the left.

  18. We have now reached the Too Much Information portion of this comments section.

    Hey, Snake. I heard Dwight Howard wanted to Tweet congratulations to Jason Collins about him announcing his sexuality but he was too busy struggling with his own manhood. Too soon?

  19. Nah, Snake.

    The real gem came today on Twitter from Mike Wallace who first Tweeted:

    “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…”

    then Tweeted

    “I’m not bashing anybody don’t have anything against anyone I just don’t understand it”

    then followed with the obligatory and obviously heart-felt apology…

    “Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don’t understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended”

  20. These athletes. I don’t know. If you can’t say something nice, just shut your piehole. Wilbon thinks that because its the NBA, it will go down easier. He’s right. Now I’m waiting for Tebow to come out of the closet and stop hiding behind religion.

  21. Pingback: The real reason Dwight Howard is not the best center in the NBA and why the Lakers should think twice before re-signing him - BallHyped Blog Network, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  22. Snake…

    I agree with Wilbon in the sense that the NBA is a far more forgiving and progressive league.

    And if, or more appropriately when, Tim Tebow comes out, it’ll not only bring down the NFL but the entire Catholic Church.

    I wonder if the new pope will give him a pardon.

  23. Actually, Tebow isn’t Catholic. He’s an Evangelical Christian. BIG difference.

  24. Don’t be a hypocrite. You started it with your comment before mine. I don’t think I want to drink in your neighborhood.

  25. Chris Humpheryssays:
    April 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm
    Wow, Tree actually agreed with me on something.

    “I must be doing something right.”

    You flatter yourself

    It doesn’t make much of an agreement to share the observation that this particular 7 footer ain’t got the moxie of a whole lot of folk 6’6″.

    Sir Charles would eat him up.

    And his mental weakness expects pats on the back as the mantle gets passed to him. Nothing would be sweeter than some ‘other’ Laker kicking some ass and setting a better example of how to lead a team.

    Unfortunately we have Kobe and then the ‘fire in the belly’ chart drops way off the damn cliff.

    MWP and Blake of recent showed me “try hard” while so many others simply look lost.

    Dwight included. To our mutual dismay…

  26. Too late, Tree. I’ve already given myself the medal and I’m not giving it back.

    Let me ask you, as a Laker fan, do you fear the dark ages that are to come once Kobe retires?

    ‘Cause they’re approaching. You can almost smell it.

  27. Chris

    Dwight Howard
    is simply not mature enough to be the center-piece or focal point of any team in the NBA . And anyone thinking that he does , . clearly doesn’t know enough about the player much less the NBA . Howard’s stats might well over the course of the regular season suggest that he’s the best center in the NBA but skillset , simply does not make it so .

    As far as the postseason goes , the Nets’ Brook Lopez is certainly proving that he and Marc Gasol are the two best and most versatile centers in the league .

    How much of a fu##ing moron is ESPN’s
    Chris Broussard
    and why is his dumb @ss bringing up his religious beliefs as to Jason Collins declaring his homosexuality ? Broussard obviously has forgotten some of the Christian teachings he was raised with ? ” Let those without sin cast the first stone” .

    Where was Broussard in the case of Kobe Bryant’s behavior in Eagle Colorado , and the player’s admittance that his actions were so egregious and wrong ? Chris Broussard isn’t a journalist , he is merely a hack being paid espouse his sometime lame ass views ! He should get over his frigging piousness and take a look at the real world and report on some of the real underlying issues that’s now happening in the NBA . As we Brits like to say Broussard is nothing but a wanker !

    Tophatal ……………………

  28. If he resigns with LA, I’ll root for him. And while agree that he’s limited offensively I recall a gentleman named Bill Russell that wasnt’ an offensive juggernaut but found a way to collect more rings than fingers. Not saying Dwight’s Bll Russell by any means, just saying that he can still have a huge impact on a game through defense and rebounding.

    He has stated that he intends to workout with Hakeem this summer to develop his offense and footwork. Should he stay, he’d also have Kareem just a phone call away. Why no one has tried to emulate the sky hook yet is beyond me.

    If he wants out, the Lakers won’t be left empty handed. He’ll bring back assets in a sign & trade because I doubt he’d leave 30 mil on the table. Either he or Pau will be back in P&G next year but most likely not both. Either or, I’d like to see a trade with Minnesota. Kevin Love, Pekovic, Derrick Williams and either Barea or Ridenour for either D12 or Pau and parts.

    As far as the looming Lakers “dark ages” post Kobe…Cmon Rev, this is the Lakers. One player is not the sum of this franchise. We survived Magic’s HIV, we’ll survive Kobe’s achilles and eventual retirement.

  29. Al…

    I don’t know if you subscribe to Wally’s Full Court Pest forum but there are guys over there who still think Dwight Howard is a top three player in the league. Needless to say, I had to leave that conversation as it was getting me frustrated.

    Gasol, Marc that is, had himself a great year. A classic post-up player in the true sense of the word, a tough guy (not just for a European player) and now the best defensive player in the league.

    I didn’t hear Broussard’s comments about Collins, Al, but now I’m intrigued. I’ll look ’em up. I mean, all the guy does for a living is cover the NBA. You’d think he’d come up with something right for the Collins’ move. Guess not.

  30. Bleed…

    Look, I know Dwight’s gonna get a max deal, whether it’s in L.A. or elsewhere but is a guy who’s “just really good on defense” and after nine years, lacks solid offensive skills other than being able to dunk the ball on a pick and roll worth nearly a third to a fourth of a team’s salary? That’s why I suggest teams think twice before mortgaging their future on him, not to mention making sure his head is in the right place.

    What has Dwight done to make himself a better player? The Hakeem lessons aren’t taking.

    Personally, I love the Love deal. Kevin Love is a baller, far more versatile offensively and grabs just as many rebounds per game (12.2 vs 12.9) as Dwight.

    I guess we’ll see what happens.

  31. Can’t disagree Rev. I don’t think Dwight’s worth a max deal either but timing is everything…Just ask Rashard Lewis’accountant.

  32. Bleed…

    I thought Sheed had been getting minutes on this New York Knicks roster.

    Is he hurt? Or can they just no longer find room for him?

  33. Chris

    Dwight a top three player ? That`s like suggesting that Lindsay Lohan has the acting chops of Meryl Streep . What are those guys using ` special K` to try and keep them lucid or simply stupid ?

    Broussard is the type of conservative religious bigot that gives …. Christianity a bad name , just like Pastors Fred Jones and Fred Phelps , ________ the fu#king idiots who turn up at the funerals of fallen US servicemen from the theaters of war in Afghanistan and Iraq espousing their idiocy about the US becoming a Godless country and a lover of the homosexual lifestyle .

    Where was Broussard , when Bryant laying the wood and allegedly raping a hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado ? That dumb @ss was simply defending the player , who was already a known philanderer , and who has been that way throughout much of his marriage (actresses Sanaa Lathan , Megan Good and Lauren London to name but a few who`ve rode on Kobe`s pipe )

    Chris Broussard is a hypocritical @ss wipe .

    As I said in my piece , Broussard can go f#!k himself and the horse he rode in on .

    What is it , that particular domain cannot recognize when it comes to D- How` ? The center lacks maturity and game intelligence a great deal of the time. . When things don`t go his way , he becomes an ingrate and a monumental pain in the a$s .

    Latest piece ____ MLB

    All good things must come to an end, and they will, at some point !

    Tophatal ………….

  34. Chris

    Dwight is like Tebow , he doesn`t possess the intelligence to improve with depth , nor has either shown any maturity .

    Dwight wants to be the best center in the NBA ? Tim Tebow wants to 3eastinmrrsa;; be a quarterback in the NFL ? Question …. why have both failed in their endeavors so miserably this past season ? Answers please , if at all possible ?

    Now all we are likely to ear from both of these athletes /players , are excuses and a great deal of whining , especially with regard to Tebow , and we`re already hearing it from Dwight .

    What the #uck was he (Tebow) promised by the Jets , a leprechaun`s pot of gold ? Affable but a real dumb @ss , is the best way to describe Tim Tebow .

    Tophatal ……….

  35. Al…

    There was a point in time where one could make a legitimate argument that, were you to redraft every player in the league, Dwight was one you might pick first to build around. One can hardly make that argument now with a straight face. His head is not in the game, it’s as simple as that. My main concern if I were a GM, which I’m not, is whether he has the determination and will to become an NBA champion. At this point, I am not convinced.

    I did finally listen to Broussard’s comments and they definitely could have been addressed more appropriately. Were there any repercussions from the network other than them issuing an apology?

  36. Al…

    Your comparisons of Dwight to Tim Tebow are totally unfounded. Tebow won two national championships at Florida and ranks legitimately as one of the top college football players of all-time. Dwight is not in that discussion nor would he have been had he attended college.

    Similarly, their pro careers aren’t comparable. Dwight has had nine years in the league and Tebow hasn’t been able to crack a starting lineup with any consistency.

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