Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy may not have the best relationship during their time with the Orlando Magic, but the former NBA head coach knows the current Los Angeles Lakers big man deserves more respect than what he has gotten so far.
To recall, the NBA named its Top 75 players in history early in the season in time for its 75th anniversary. However, Howard's omission sparked a lot of debates, especially with the likes of Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis making the list despite not having as much accolades as Howard.
Some pointed out recency bias as the reason for Dwight's absence in the list, since he has been declining in recent years, as well as the poor reputation he has developed in his career. However, Van Gundy is not buying that as he argued Howard's case as a Top 75 player of all time.
“Whatever the reason that he got left out, there’s something more than basketball to it,” Van Gundy said, per the New York Times.
Stan Van Gundy also highlighted Dwight Howard's dominance early in his career–way before he became a backup big with the Lakers and several other teams. To recall, the former No. 1 pick is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, five-time All-NBA Defensive Team member, two-time blocks leader and an eight-time NBA All-Star.
In case anyone has forgotten, while he wasn't able to win a championship with the Magic, he was able to lead his team to the NBA Finals in 2009–something not all players on the Top 75 list can say they did.
While it might be too late now to make his case, at least Howard can rest easy to know that not everyone has forgotten how good he was in his prime years.