Dwight Howard.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes Dwight Howard "is still an elite defender"

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Dwight Howard will be playing for his fourth team in six seasons after the Atlanta Hawks traded him to the Charlotte Hornets this summer. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic in 2012, the big man has not had the same level of success he enjoyed in Florida. 

Howard has also had stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets in the last five years but he failed to recapture the form that made him a star in Orlando. 

With the Magic, Dwight reached the NBA Finals in 2009, became a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and arguably the best center in the league. 

Since his departure from the sunshine state, the 31-year-old has been a shadow of the dominant player he was in those days. 

But in Hornets head coach Steve Clifford, the veteran still has a big admirer as he was part of the coaching staff in Orlando and knows his game well.

Coach Clifford accepts that Howard isn't as athletic as he once was, but believes he can still have a huge impact on the team from a defensive standpoint.

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

“Dwight is still an elite defender,” Clifford said. “He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around. He’s 'Marvin Williams' as a traffic cop on defence."

Despite his problems, the eight-time All-Star is still one of the best rebounders and rim protectors in the NBA when he's engaged.

At this stage of his career, he may be best served to focus his efforts on the defensive end, but Howard has always wanted to be one of the focal points of a team's offence.

The All-NBA center has often been criticised for his offensive limitations and lack of post moves, but he says he hasn't had enough of an opportunity to show his skills on that end of the floor since he left Orlando. 

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

"In Orlando, I was getting 13-15 shots a game. Last season, in Atlanta, it was six shot attempts. It looks like I'm not involved in the game," he said. "And if I miss a shot, it sticks out because I am not getting very many of them. But I think it's all opportunity, the system. I haven't had a system where I can be who I am since I was in Orlando."

Other than Kemba Walker, Charlotte doesn't have many specialist scorers so Howard can expect to receive more shot attempts and look to carry some of the load offensively.

This may well be last chance saloon for DH12 to get his career back on track and re-emerge as a star once again. 

Eastern Conference
Dwight Howard
Houston Rockets
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Kemba Walker
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