Dwight Howard's career trajectory has gone completely against what many people expected when he first burst onto the scene with the Orlando Magic 12 years ago. The center was a firm fans' favourite in the Sunshine State but his fortunes have taken a downward turn since his ill-fated spell alongside Kobe Bryant at the L.A. Lakers.
Having led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009, his relationship with the Black Mamba during his solitary season in Los Angeles left a stain on his career that he has never been able to remove.
At the end of the current campaign, after it was clear he would not be prolonging his stay with the Houston Rockets, the question was not 'where will Dwight go?', it was actually 'who will give Dwight a chance?'
His relationship with Houston's star man James Harden was strained at the best of times and it led to a toxic atmosphere around the franchise - from the outside looking in - as they crashed out in the first round of the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors having faced them in the Western Conference Finals just 11 months prior.
Despite the numerous setbacks throughout his career, Howard has remained positive and posted a message on Instagram as he practiced his free throws, an attribute of his game that has plagued him since he was drafted.
The text read: "They say you can’t do this. You can’t do that. I say. You can do all thing [sic] through Christ. One thing I will tell all you. Don’t allow negativity to creep into your ear gates. It did affect me with my confidence. So I’m telling you allow only positive thoughts and positive people in your circle. Yea alot of people gonna hate on these post. But for the ones who wanna be successful in life. Believe in urself. Trust the process. Trust God. And stay locked in."
Howard is a 56.8 percent free throw shooter throughout his career, but the social media video showed a new stroke that appeared to have improved his accuracy incredibly. However, it is impossible to gauge how shooting in the gym will translate to the challenge of shooting under game pressure.
The center's desire to win has often been called into consideration, his happy demeanour on court is often mistaken for a happy-go-lucky attitude, but that could not be further from the truth, recently admitting he despised losing with the Rockets and wants to win a championship before he retires.
He possesses the necessary skills set to compliment a winning franchise, but time is closing in on Howard to add a ring to his collection of accolades. Next season is huge for the 30-year-old.