Friday, March 9th, 2012

Dwight Howard’s possible destinations are not likely to yield an NBA Title

Published on March 7, 2012 by Anthony Carriuolo   ·   No Comments

There can be a distinct argument that Orlando Magic C Dwight Howard is the most important player to his team in the NBA. While he may be the best defensive player in the league and far and beyond the finest center, there is no argument against Miami Heat SF LeBron James as the best player in basketball right now. However, Orlando Magic C Dwight Howard is in fact the most indispensable player on his team.

For a plethora of reasons, Dwight Howard being traded away from Orlando would result in a disaster for the city of Orlando. Firstly, Dwight Howard is the lone superstar in the city of Orlando. The next nearest thing the fans in Orlando has for local teams in the professional ranks are the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the southern teams to Miami. Dwight Howard is the first face in Orlando save for Mickey Mouse.

The power shift in the NBA resulting in a trade for Dwight Howard may not make a single contending team into a champion worthy of challenging the top flight of either conference, but it would cripple the Orlando Magic in a way that has not been seen since the recent “Decision” made by LeBron James. Dwight Howard is Orlando. Possible landing places include the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, or even the dark horse Chicago Bulls. The Nets have a realistic chance of retaining superstar PG Deron Williams if they bring in Howard, leaving them a combo of size and speed worthy of Eastern Conference contention. However, the Nets would be robbed of any decent supporting cast and would be left with a PG who is best left to scoring instead of passing the rock. A PG like L.A. Clippers PG Chris Paul or Boston Celtics PG Rajon Rondo would be better suited to accommodate Howard’s style.

Furthermore, the proverbial arm and leg combo that the L.A. Lakers would have to give up would leave the team with SG Kobe Bryant and Howard. Once again, two scorers who will have trouble coexisting. Bryant had a monster game against the Miami Heat in Los Angeles. Fans have to remember however, that this game was largely a product of the board domination in lieu of PF Chris Bosh who was attending a funeral. Also, the Lakers have been victimized by the Heat in every other match up. Sharing the ball for these two would result in an efficiency crisis.

Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose poses the same problem that Williams does. He is a generational scorer at the position, but lacks the defensive and distributive skill to work Howard in the paint. Howard likes to pass out of the paint to outside shooters. Not only would the Bulls have to part with a large part of their frontcourt rotation, they would also have to turn loose what would likely be a combination of G Ronnie Brewer and SF Luol Deng, two of their most reliable shooters. There is no likely group in terms of the pieces a team would have to part with and the options remaining for Dwight Howard to win a title.

In fact, the reverse might do the job for Dwight Howard. That being, trading for an applicable piece with enough luster to keep Howard in Orlando. There are a number of solid players on the block that could offer some combination of Howard, PF Ryan Anderson, and the rest a decent chance at a surprise run. Golden State Warriors SG Monta Ellis comes to mind, however his shots are too numerous and he will  rob Howard of his touches. The best possible fit off the trading block would be Celtics PG Rajon Rondo. Rondo is not a guy who will score from deep, but he can run the floor with the NBA’s most athletic center. Rondo also has some of the craftiest handiwork in the paint, and would give Howard quite a few no looks and underhanded passes for easy flushes. The players Orlando would have to give up for Rondo would be substantial, but his value as one of the only great passing guards on the block would be more than enough of a meshing. That duo would make Clippers PG Chris Paul and PF Blake Griffin look like child’s play. There simply is no better passer and no better center.

Knowing Orlando, (or any of the irrational NBA execs out there) they will not even cross their mind to execute this move. However, the combo of Rondo and Howard would be enough to win almost any pickup two on two in the NBA.



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