Hot Take Marathon: Dwight Howard's Cape Is Back On
*The NBA offseason is cooling down, but the takes at OTG aren't. This month, we are hitting you with the Hot Take Marathon. Check back every day for a spicy NBA take!*
In the past six years, I don’t think there has been a more conflicting locker room personality than Dwight Howard.
Howard has had one of those careers where it sort of feels as if he’s been on every team in the NBA. After playing out his younger years on the Orlando Magic, Howard made his way to the Lakers. I think we all saw how horrifically that panned out. From there Dwight went to Houston for three seasons. That Houston team actually had a lot of momentum at one point but once again it fell apart because of issues beyond basketball. Those issues squeezed their way to the court.
Howard would find himself on the Atlanta Hawks for one year, where he played reasonably. As a Wizards fan I remember vividly losing two games in the first round to this team and being frustrated by the significant efforts Howard contributed. Still, the Wizards prevailed and went to the second round (trash talking John Wall came out and put fear in to the entire Hawks roster). Despite the L, since that series I’ve always looked at Howard differently, a man capable of taking over a game when he feels like it.
After this, “Superman” was traded to the Charlotte Hornets where he would have his most memorable season in recent memory. Averaging 16.6 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.6 BPG and even going off for 32 points and 30 rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets. Howard showed that he still has what it takes to completely take over a game. Despite having a good year, the Hornets missed playoffs and Howard was once again looking for a new home.
This time around, Howard found a team that needed redemption just as bad as he did. Howard signed with the Wizards. I believe he will make this team better, as players like Wall and Bradley Beal will assist Dwight Howard to have one if his most dominant years of his career.
One thing I would like to add is that I believe Howard has received much more hate than he was due in the past few years. I can understand where one would target his personality as a reason for their dislike. But claiming Howard to be “washed” is blasphemy. An argument I hear a lot is that Howard’s best days are in the past with the Magic. It’s possible there is some truth to this, but overall if you look at his numbers since his Magic years, his dominance is still very visible. I mean just looking at his numbers last year with the Hornets. As a 32-year-old center those are some extraordinary numbers. If Howard was able to achieve that with Kemba Walker, I can only imagine how much better he will be with a point guard like Wall.
Now, it is very easy to fall into the narrative that this team will not work at all because of the conflicting personalities, Wall and Howard in particular. Wall has caught some flack the last few years after rumors of locker room issues and more recently the very public issues between Wall and ex-center Marcin Gortat. I personally do not think Wall is thinking about locker room issues at all. I think he, as well as the rest of the Wizards roster (Howard included), are looking to redeem themselves this season. Not to mention, Wall was reaching out to Howard and recruiting him to the Wizards.
In fact, Howard even told NBC Sports of Washington his response to Wall sending a last-minute Instagram message “That conversation was like a confirmation for me. Him reaching out, I’ve never had a guy like John Wall as a point guard, so why lose that opportunity?” Sounds like excitement if anything to me.
When Howard and the rest of the Wizards adjust to the team’s new look, we will begin to see a whole new side of the 32-year-old center. A more aggressive, dominant, determined and quite simply, the best side of Howard the league has ever seen. Ladies and gentlemen, the cape is back on.