Dwight Howard’s reputation is taking an undeserving blow with his name on the NBA trade mill.
The Houston Rockets, currently in the 7th seed with a 15-15 record, have their reasons to trade Howard after such a slow start to the 2015-16 season. With a player option for next season, it’s unlikely that Howard will remain in Space City.
By trading him, the Rockets would be able to acquire role players to complement James Harden, instead of letting Howard walk for absolutely nothing.
After last year’s appearance in the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets should be trying to rekindle their winning ways. But their failures to be relevant as a Western Conference contender shouldn’t be laid on Howard’s broad shoulders.
Now playing in his 12th NBA season, Howard’s reputation has been spinning down the toilet unlike any other superstar in the league. Except for maybe, Derrick Rose.
Unlike Rose, Howard still produces at a superstar level for an NBA centre, even without the Rockets using him to his full potential.
Howard might not be the same Superman character that NBA fans grew to love in Orlando, but he isn’t anywhere near done as a supreme NBA talent.
This season, his stats place him as the only player in the league averaging at least 12.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a game.
He’s also the only player this season to post a game where he’s had 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks while shooting 60 per cent from the field.
That sure is something to smile about.
Despite his unbelievable numbers, the Rockets don’t seem to believe in his capabilities. The proof is in his field goal attempts.
Since coming to Houston in the 2013-14 season, Howard’s field goal attempts have dropped every year.
This year, he’s only attempting 8.4 shots a game, the second lowest of his career right behind his rookie season of 8.3.
When Howard came to Houston, he joined a young superstar in Harden who had just come off a season averaging 25.9 points on 17.7 shots. So there shouldn’t have been any reason to believe Howard would be the main scoring option.
But him being the fourth offensive option on the current Rockets squad is blasphemy.
Especially when he’s shooting 58.9 per cent from the field, compared to Trezor Ariza’s 38.3 and Marcus Thorton’s 42.9.
The large group of Howard haters will make the excuse that he’s too injured to be relied upon. But as someone that led the league in rebounds in the 2015 playoffs, he deserves the chance to have some fun on the offensive end of the floor.
After only missing three of 492 games in his first six seasons, it’s evident that Howard’s body has taken its beating. In his last six seasons, including the Rockets’ 30 games this season, Howard has missed 80 of his last 424 games.
Coming into the league as a physical specimen, Howard’s game was eventually supposed to evolve to not have to solely rely on his athleticism.
When he arrived to Houston, he was graced with two of the best low-post players in NBA history: Hakeem Olajuwon and former Rockets coach, Kevin McHale.
How much time they spent to help him develop real post moves seems to now be irrelevant-with Howard never getting the chance to hone him craft in real game situations.
All stats for this article are from BasketballReference.com
You can follow Bryan Meler on Twitter @BryanMelo97