Monday, February 8, 2010

Let's Focus on Dwight Howard

I was on a radio program in Orlando last week, and one of the hosts asked me a question I often ask myself: Why does it seem Dwight Howard is constantly picked apart for what he can’t do rather than appreciated for what he does?

Howard is not a great ballhandler. He gets into foul trouble too often. He does not always demand the ball as much as he should. He does not use his jump shot—of the 492 shots he’s taken this year, 434 have come from within four feet of the basket. That’s 88.2 percent. Compare that to, say, Tim Duncan, who has taken only 363 of his 668 shots (54.3 percent) from within four feet.

(Some advice: Don’t point this out to Howard. In the locker room a couple of months ago, he was asked, “When are we going to see your mythical 15-foot jumpshot?” Howard snapped back, “It’s not mythical,” and gave the guy the kind of look that leaves bruises.)

In Orlando’s win over the Celtics on Sunday, Howard was in foul trouble in the first half and scored two points. But he played intelligently in the second half, even when he was saddled with four fouls, and Orlando used a 25-2 run to take over the game. Howard finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, notching a double-double for the 12th straight game, the longest such streak in the NBA.

He’s now averaging 17.8 points and a league-high 13.4 rebounds. Maybe Howard should just be given credit for what he does rather than knocked for what he does not do.


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