The NBA pre-season is a way for teams to fine-tune their rotation and plays. Winning or losing games doesn’t have any bearings. However, Dwight Howard after 13 seasons in the NBA is taking these pre-season games as if it was in the playoffs.
On their game against Detroit Pistons, Howard gave Jeremy Lamb a picked. After Jeremy went into the pick, Dwight roll and slide just a few steps below the three-point line. When Jeremy shoveled a pass, Dwight hit an open jump shot like a stretch five. In another ensuing play, Howard blocked a shot, dribbled the ball coast to coast and ended with a slam and a foul.
Two seasons ago, Dwight was in the verged of slowly losing his grasp on his career. He had frequented “Shaqtin a fool” more than highlight reels. Years ago, everyone thought he would be a sure shot to the hall of fame, and earn championship rings for years to come. From a franchise player, Dwight turned into an egotistic player that teams are having second thoughts in signing him. The NBA evolved into a position-less and dribble drive offense era. Big men are shooting long range threes and even playing point guards. Dwight however, refused changed. He never developed his shooting, and instead of spreading the floor, he clogged the lane most of the time, asking the ball in the post in every possession. When Howard was in Houston, James Harden had to be more initiative in offense because opposition centers will just stay in the middle since Howard is just camping in the paint. Charles Darwin has a good definition about change “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
Dwight came out insignificant in offense last season when he played in his hometown, Atlanta. It was his lowest point’s average since Orlando drafted him in 2004 at 8.0 ppg. Although there were spurts of 30 points and double-double performance. He failed to lift the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. When Dwight signed a $70 million three-year contract with Atlanta, he thought he would end his career at home. However, Charlotte traded him for 2017 picks (31st and 41st) and role players Marco Belinelli and Miles Plumlee.
The eight time NBA All-star, five time All-NBA first team and projected to be in the Hall of fame has just been traded in exchange for players who are journey men and never got into any All-star lineup or even mentions. Dwight’s value dipped and this could be a humbling experience.
Charlotte got him because he can still contribute in defense and rebounds. At 31 years old, this is could be Dwight’s last chance.
No more chasing championships and no more chasing greatness… this time Dwight Howard is playing to prove his critics wrong.
And the same time for survival.