Dwight Howard is on his way out of Houston, and you’d think the 30-year old center would be in high demand. But his production has fallen off a cliff the last two years, and this year, he ranks 15th among centers in efficiency, behind the likes of Nikola Jokic, Brook Lopez and Nikola Vucevic. Just two years ago Howard was 7th; four years ago, when he was in Orlando, he was 1st.
Last year, the Rockets went to the Western Conference Finals on the strength of James Harden’s MVP-caliber season, and excellent role players in Trevor Ariza, Corey Brewer and Terrence Jones as Howard was hurt and missed half the season. This season, the chemistry isn’t there and defensively they’re a disaster, 2nd-to-last in ppg allowed (106.8), and also in the bottom 10 in FG% allowed and 3FG% allowed.
Chemistry seems to be the key word, because Howard can wreck chemistry, and given his tiff with Stan Van Gundy in Orlando, then with Kobe and the Lakers, and now in Houston, who can this guy get along with?
Does Brad Stevens want that headache? The torrid Celtics are 3rd in the East (32-23), don’t have a Top 5 player at any position in the NBA, but have tremendous depth and great balance. Eight players average 20 or more minutes a night. Isaiah Thomas leads them in scoring (21.5 ppg), and the Celtics, surprisingly have one of the best offenses in the NBA (105.7 ppg). The way Boston has played the last few weeks, they appear to be a legit threat to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
Is it worth messing that up to take a shot at Dwight Howard? How is Howard putting the Celtics over the top against the Cavs in the East? They don’t have a rim protector, so maybe that’s him, protecting the rim against Kyrie Irving and LeBron. But at what cost? Would it be worth giving up their likely-Top 5 pick they have from the Brooklyn Nets?
Of course not. Howard is so strange, who knows if he’ll re-sign in Boston at season’s end? The Boston media is aggressive, and Howard’s soft, goofball style isn’t going to play well if the Celtics are struggling.
As we saw in the Western Conference Finals, Howard was useless in the clutch against the Warriors because he’ll have to chase Draymond Green on the perimeter.
If I’m Boston, I say no to Howard. And I can’t find a contender that could actually use him. Memphis just lost Marc Gasol. The Thunder have a surfeit of bigs. So do the Top 8 teams in the West. Charlotte, with Al Jefferson hurt?