The Return of Dwight Howard
*Photo via USA Today
As reported earlier today; Dwight Howard after missing his last 26 games, will play limited minutes for the Rockets tonight. Now Howard hasn’t been entirely missed, with the Rockets posting a 17-9 record since his absence. However, who can deny the presence Howard brings, and the relief it can give James Harden; who’s been carrying much of the load in these last 26 games. Dwight this season is averaging 16.3 PPG, 11 RPG, and is shooting 57.5% from the field. Now Terrance Jones and Josh Smith have done a fine job filling in for Howard, with extra minutes and smaller lineups. Now with his return the bench will grow stronger, and as well he helps the overall structure of the Rockets.
The Rockets are a jump shot shooting team averaging a league high 33.2 , three point attempts a game. With Howard’s return, the inside and out game returns, this meaning the Rockets can crash the paint with Howard and Jones to enable the paint to collapse. When the paint collapses, they can dish out to more open 3 point shooters, making the Rockets deadlier than they already are again. The one downside of Howards return is the effect it has on James Hardens’ MVP run. With Howard back we might see a drop in Harden’s numbers, which in term could lead to him falling down in the race. However, James Harden and the Rockets have their eyes set on a much bigger accolade.