Dwight Howard Has Too Much Baggage

Dwight Howard has more issues than Amanda Bynes or Kim Kardashian.

Over the past 18 months, Howard has managed to be responsible for getting one coach fired, indirectly got another one fired, opted into the final year of his contract only to demand a trade out of Orlando, feuded with Kobe Bryant, got two technicals in arguably the biggest game of his season and reports are circulating that he wants a third coach removed if he re-signs with the Lakers this summer.

Howard clearly isn’t over his desire for the limelight because he picked an inopportune time – the night before the NBA Draft – to chat with Chris Broussard about his desire to leave Los Angeles. Why he couldn’t wait 24 hours is baffling.

“I think I handled some situations good, some situations bad, (but) it’s a growing process,” Howard told the media last month.

If all of those issues aren’t enough of a cause for concern, last season was Howard’s first after back surgery and he posted some of the worst numbers of his career. His PER dropped from 24.31 in Orlando to the lowest of his career (19.79) in Los Angeles.

His scoring was the lowest of his career (17.2) and he had the second lowest free throw percentage of his career (49.2%).

The one area he posted a career-high was in fouls per game (3.8).

“This is like a nightmare,” Howard told the media after the Lakes were bounced from the playoffs. “This is like a bad dream and I couldn’t wake up out of it.”

It’s not just the numbers that should cause Howard to feel like he’s stuck in a nightmare. It’s his lack of explosiveness getting off the floor, he doesn’t have the same freakish vertical that he did prior to surgery and he lacks the same passion for cleaning the glass he had in Orlando.

Howard finds himself stuck in a nightmare where he is as an undersized centre who now lacks the freakish athleticism which allowed him to be so successful earlier in his career. On top of that he finds himself attached to enough drama that it would embarrass a catty teenage girl.

Yet somehow the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks are all drooling at the chance of throwing a max contract his way. The Lakers have already posted banners begging for Howard to return while the Mavericks, Hawks and Rockets are willing to make trades to gut their roster in order to clear the necessary cap space.

Sorry, but I don’t get it. From everything that has happened off the court over the past year and a half it’s clear Howard is the kind of player that costs general managers and coaches their jobs. It would be one thing if he was worth the drama, but his numbers don’t indicate that he is.

It will be interesting to see what team wins the Howard “sweepstakes” this summer because it will alter the future of the franchise. But, if I were a general manager, I’d be staying far away from the circus and drama that seems to constantly surround Howard because I’m not sold the addition of Howard will impact a franchise in a positive way.


Ryan McNeill
Ryan McNeill has appeared on ESPN Radio, MTV Canada, SiriusXM, The Fan 590 and other radio programs and TV shows. He has covered the NBA with media credentials since the 2007-08 season.
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One Comment
  • John

    I agree that GMs are taking a big risk offering Howard the max giving all the shenanigans over the past year and a half, but even having his worst season in the league, which you could argue was down to recovering from surgery, playing in a different system, and of course, a bad attitude, he was still the best rebounder in the NBA, putting up 17-12. That’s why he’s getting a max deal–the potential is so tantalizing.