Dwight Howard will be featuring for his fifth team in the last six years after he signed a two-year deal with the Washington Wizards this summer.
The big man has bounced around the league since he chose to leave the Orlando Magic in 2012.
During his time in Florida, he was considered the best center in the league and was a dominant presence on both ends of the floor.
He was a regular MVP candidate and was named as a three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Howard led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009 and was one of the biggest superstars in the game.
But his career has been on the decline since that decision to leave Orlando as he hasn’t been able to reach those same heights.
The game evolved but the 32-year-old was not willing to change with it and has almost been left behind as a traditional center.
His coach in Orlando, Stan Van Gundy, was recently discussing the demise of his former star and admitted that he hasn’t enjoyed what he’s seen.
“It’s crazy; it really is,” Van Gundy told Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel.
“… And it’s not been a lot of fun to watch because this is a guy who was the best center in the game for a long time.
“He’s still very good, but it doesn’t seem that he’s been highly appreciated….”
In this current era, a lot more is expected of bigs in the league. The days of just being rim protectors and low-post scorers are largely gone.
They’re expected to develop three-point shots and expand their offensive skills outside of the paint.
Big man evolution
“The problem is — and not just for Dwight — it’s been a tough adjustment for them [big men].
“What everybody wants right now in a center is a guy who runs, defends, defends pick-and-rolls, protects the rim, rebounds and, on offence, is a pick-and-roll guy and a lob threat.
“Well, that’s Dwight Howard. There’s probably nobody who’s ever been better than him [at those skills].
“The problem is these guys all want more. They want it to go back to the days where you would throw them the ball in the low post and then they get to play their game. I understand that.
“You’re a great player and you want to be able to show what you can do, but the game has changed. It’s been a tough adjustment for centers.
“I don’t think the game has passed them by because those guys are still really effective.
“They just have had trouble adjusting to and enjoying the role people want them to play.”
Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Charlotte Hornets last year and enjoyed a slight renaissance.
But that wasn’t deemed good enough as he was traded this summer.
He did show ways of trying to expand his game last season as he showed off some fancy ball-handling but he’ll have to improve his shooting to be an effective big today.
It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll be a good fit alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal in Washington.
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