It feels like ages ago that Dwight Howard’s name would synonymously be brought up along with the best big man in the league discussion. There was even a time that his name was in the same sentence as the greatest big man of all time.
Fallen from grace and at 32-years-old, we see him bounced around the league. Now with his sixth team, the Washington Wizards are a perfect place to revive a forgotten player who was buried on one issue after another. Can John Wall get him back to his All-star ways? Let us look at two factors that may affect the situation of the talented big man.
To pick himself up, it isn’t about the numbers anymore. Howard actually produced more than decent numbers for a starting center. His fringe All-star like numbers for the Hornets last season were 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game, which were pretty impressive if you knew it didn’t come from a guy named Dwight Howard.
Compared to his last All-star season with the Rockets, he averaged 18.3 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game. Surprisingly close when it comes to the stat line, considering that he played fewer minutes as a Hornet than a Rocket. Howard’s physical tools, despite the age, still make him one of the most physically imposing big men in the league.
Moreover, the All-star tag on a player has slowly evolved aside from being just a franchise changer. Factors like marketability, popularity, and entertainment value have slowly been added to the aspect.
Compared to Knick unicorn Kristaps Porzingis, his numbers last season of 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.4 blocks compared to Dwight Howard’s numbers look far steadier as he played second fiddle to Hornets All-star Kemba Walker.
Nonetheless, KP had his first All-star nod, while Howard was still buried in irrelevance.
The John Wall Effect
The 1st overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft, John Wall has lived up to his billing as a franchise-changing piece. Despite the injuries and issues, the five-time All-star managed to average 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game last season.
His combination of speed, strength, and handles make him one of the best offensive point guards in the league.
Not to knock on Wall’s undeniable talent, but due to the high average on his assists, people mistake John Wall to be a brilliant passer. In reality, he is so deadly on offense that it opens up opportunities for his teammates. The defense has no choice but to collapse on him on the inside that it gets other players easy looks.
In relation to Howard, Wall will surely rack up dimes with the big man around the rim. In terms of making him an All-star, that might be a different story. Gifted as he is, Wall is cut from a different point guard mold. He is far off from a Steve Nash or Chris Paul, which have the ability to milk and transform individuals into All-star or near All-star production. If it were otherwise, Otto Porter and former Wizard Marcin Gortat should be in All-star contention.
Wizards star Bradley Beal is a different story; he is adept enough to create his own shots despite being a remarkable catch and shoot guy from the perimeter. His ability to score rivals Wall as the main gun in the team.
In conclusion, John Wall is without a doubt talented and an All-star. Can he make Dwight Howard into an All-star once again? That is unlikely.
Will we ever see All-star Howard?
He may a dinosaur in the new age space and pace game of the NBA, but the man formerly known as Superman clearly can still produce at a high level.
His exile from All-star land might be due to the past drama he has been known for in the league. From forcing the Magic’s hand to trade him, to the Dwightmare in LA, then to Houston where he wanted more touches from James Harden, and ultimately his well-documented immaturity and diva-like behavior, the culmination of all of these might be the cause of his downfall.
The league may have forgiven him, but the lasting impression of his history may have put a lasting dent on his now-diminishing value.
The production will definitely be there for Dwight Howard, and we could see even more given the minutes and the right circumstance. Will the league forget the Howard of old and embrace him anew? Only time can tell.
With the season opener approaching, Howard is in the best place right now. A new team, a new home, another chance to redeem himself, that is all he needs to prove to everyone that he belongs as one of the greats once again.