Dwight Howard isn't the same player anymore, says ex-Rockets coach Kevin McHale

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Turn the clocks back five years, and current Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is an absolute star in the NBA.

He would've just won his third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award, been named to the All-NBA First Team for the fourth year in a row, and in the middle of his eight straight trips to the NBA All-Star Game.

Now, Dwight Howard isn't the same player, and lots of people have noticed. Including former Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, who spoke about the big man earlier this week.

"If you throw it down to him (in the post) on a steady diet the poor guy just can't get down low and move anymore," McHale said in an interview, according to NBC Sports' ProBasketballTalk.

"I think that back bothered him, his hips are tight from that and he just wasn't the same player."

Howard has missed 81 regular-season games over the past five years since 2011 thanks to back and knee issues that have turned him from the most feared defender in the league to a player who has become a mere afterthought on the Rockets.

McHale did say that Howard is trying to get back to his best, but it just doesn't look like happening anymore.

"He's worked hard on it," McHale added. "The kid does work hard on his physical conditioning and trying to get healthy and stuff. But he is not what he used to be down there in the low post. And I think the knee surgery, too."

It's so sad to see Dwight like this. He was on the cusp of becoming a legitimate superstar, a real poster boy for basketball. Instead, like so many other bright prospects, injury took it all away.

Western Conference
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
Dwight Howard

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