Player Forecast on Dwight Howard
Weight: 265 pounds
The Hornets did something this off-season that many still cannot believe they pulled off. They traded the awful contract of Miles Plumbee away and managed to get Dwight Howard in return. It’s no secret that Dwight has been slowed by injuries and age, but let’s look and see what to expect from him in the Purple and Teal this season.
Reasons for Optimism:
Last season, one of the Hornets biggest issues was depth at center when Cody went down. Dwight helps Charlotte in a big way there. The reality is Howard has never been on a team that has missed the playoffs, and that bodes well for the Hornets who look very competitive in what should be a watered down Eastern Conference.
Steve Clifford and the Hornets have the ability to give Howard a chance to just play. The expectations aren’t huge, he won’t need to be a number-one or two option like he has dealt with in the past, and in Charlotte, D12 is now reunited with a familiar face in Steve Clifford. Dwight will be in a place that he can thrive without the bright lights and pressure he has had in the past.
The Hornets needed what Howard is best at – hitting the boards and protecting the rim. His strengths were a big weakness for the Hornets last year. This not only allows guys like Frank and Marvin the ability to get open shots, but defensively it will allow our perimeter defenders to stay tighter to their man, hopefully resulting in less open three point shots from the opposition.
Reasons for Pessimism:
This is very simple, it’s attitude. The rumblings from former teams about Howard not being easy to play with or keep happy are omni-present. This is a legit concern, however, I keep coming back to the relationship between Howard and Clifford. If Clifford didn’t think he could keep Howard locked in and focused then why would the team bring him to Charlotte in the first place? We will have to wait and see on this concern, but I’m less concerned than many.
Number to Know:
Last season Dwight Howard totaled 53 points and rebound double-double’s. Anyone care to guess on how many the Hornets got combined from Cody, Marvin, Frank and MKG in ’16-’17? (…Cue the Jeopardy Theme Music…)
32. Howard is exactly what the Doctor ordered to bolster the Hornets frontcourt rotation.
The fan in me sees the fit of Howard with Kemba and Nick Batum as a positive situation. Looking deeper, the facts are all there. Howard has not played with an all-star point-guard and pass first shooting-guard at any point in his career. Add to that a pairing with a solid defensive small-forward and a stretch-four with very good defensive instincts and dare I say, we could see a return to the All-Star Game for Dwight? I’m not saying he will return to the dominance he had early in his career, but a season of 16 points and 11 rebounds is attainable. If he and the Hornets get out to a quick start, the Eastern Conference (and many media members) may be in for a Superman sized surprise!
For more ’17-’18 Dwight Howard season preview coverage, check out QCH’s Managing Editor, Spencer Percy, and his in-depth piece from July on how D12 fits with the Hornets.