The Mis-Education of Dwight Howard 10/18/10

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Monday, November 01, 2010 with No comments
The National Basketball Association had always been a league of big men, powerful yet graceful, dominating yet artistic; the big men defined the NBA and anchored some of its greatest teams.  It all started with Mikan's Lakers, Russell's Celtics, and then the Lakers again with Wilt Chamberlain, Willis Reed of the New York Knicks, the Lakers return with Kareem Abdul Jabbar who also won a championship as a member of the Bucks, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets, and finally David Robinson of the Spurs and Shaquille O'Neal with the Lakers and the Miami Heat.  ....
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The men listed above are simply the best big men to ever play in the NBA and they have a combined 34 NBA championships between them and if we dig deeper, these men have won more than half of all the NBA Championships ever played.  They are the epitome of what an NBA center should strive to be and they all had the perfect blend of offense and defense and all center pieces of their respective franchise.  To quote Malcom X,I say and I say it again, you've been had. You've been took. You've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok."That one line in my world of basketball applies to the Mis-Education of Dwight Howard who is entering his seventh season in the NBA and is still without and NBA title but is continually labeled as a great big man, MVP candidate, someone you can build a team around.   Dwight Howard is the biggest case of false advertising I’ve seen in the NBA in a very long time.  After six seasons Dwight Howard have careers averages of 17.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, and 1.5 assists per game.  Those numbers aren’t bad for a decent NBA center but this is Dwight Howard supposedly the franchise center, the guy who can lead a team to an NBA championship.....
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The NBA is in a stage now where it’s no longer the land of giants and yet Howard really hasn’t been the dominate NBA force of nature that he was naturally selected to be.  The irony of the matter is that he has no one to challenge him which make this even more complex.  He’s never had to battle Wilt or Russell, was never Dream Shook like David Robinson, and never physically outmatched by Shaquille O’Neal in his prime.  Dwight Howard is physically a man among boys but yet he still plays like a boy and play down to the level of his competition.  Not a good look!  Howard must get nasty like Mourning or Jabbar; he must stop acting like a boy and become a man on the court.....
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Howard defenders will line up and say well he’s a defensive presence and two time NBA defensive player of the year, my response to that is so was Alonzo Mourning and he would have eaten Mr. Howard alive on the court.  Physically they are the same, mentally Mourning is like a lion “King of the Jungle”, and Howard is more like a mouse who runs from mentally stronger predators “The Celtics, Pistons, Lakers, and Heat”.  To make matters worse, the Orlando Magic, the only franchise that Howard has played for controls him with a double edge sword.  On one hand they have made him the face of their franchise the guy that represents the team in the media but when the ball is tipped they do nothing but coddle and protect him.  You don’t coddle your “franchise” player, you let him put you on his back and carry you to the Promised Land but there’s something more sinister going on.  The Orlando Magic know internally that Dwight Howard is not really a franchise guy, a go to guy and they are the reason that he fails to grow because they don’t put the pressure on him to be that guy.  At the end of games he's not even in the game because the Magic accepts that he’s a poor free-throw shooter at, 59% for his career.  Shaquille O’Neal is a career 52.7% free-throw shooter but he always closed games and as he often would state, “Made them when they counted”.  The Magic surround Howard by 3 point shooters and if the Magic fails it’s their fault hence the coddling, in Orlando Howard can do no wrong and that’s ridiculous.  ....
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Until the Orlando Magic stop coddling Howard and put pressure on him to be the man, his ascension to greatness will never happen.  He’s only 24 years of age so there’s still hope but as most players who came right out of high school he will began to break down in what are supposed to be his peak years.  The next three seasons are critical to Howard’s growth because he is in his prime right now but if he fails to understand his own destiny then he will just be another average NBA center and not the franchise player that we have been led to believe he is.  As long as this mis-education continues Howard will always have a false view of himself and he’ll never reach the levels of the games true elite big men.   ....



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