Is Dwight Howard Invaluable?

Published on 4-Jul-2013 by Towner Park

Basketball - NBA    NBA Daily Opinion

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Is Dwight Howard Invaluable?

You think I'm absolutely insane, right?

Having one of -- if not the -- best centers in the NBA undeniably adds value to a team.

Dwight Howard's smile as well as his style of play are both easily marketable in this multi-billion dollar corporation of a league. His presence alone is intimidating on the court. His defense is stifling, with his ability to slap away a shot as if it were a fly and his hands were fly swatters.

Howard's rebounding reminds me of a more muscular and taller Charles Barkley. He positions himself with ease and gracefully pulls down anything within his reach. And his offense, aside from his poor free throw shooting, can be dominating at times. He's a poor man's Shaquille O'Neal but without a go-to move. He relies on offensive putbacks and bullying his way to the rim. Despite his offensive challenges, his superb skill-set is obvious, even to the average NBA fan.

Okay, enough about boosting Dwight's ego. NBA teams around North America are already performing that task. With billboards, verbal pitches, luncheons, dinners, and promises of chicken fingers for life, Dwight is in a favorable position right now. When I ask if Dwight Howard is invaluable, I'm not discussing his skill set, the NBA suitors, his accomplishments, or his abilities. I'm focusing solely on his attitude and his mental fragility.

The Dwight Howard we know today first made his appearance in sunny Orlando. During his tenure there, Dwight criticized his teammates, Stan Van Gundy, and publicly caused a major rift between him and management. He wanted to be traded, and he was very boisterous about that. Basically, he held Orlando hostage and wasted an entire year. Then, he decided to embark on to richer pastures and sign with L.A. 

As we have all witnessed, Howard's stint with LA was mediocre, to say the least.

Granted, Howard did play hurt, but everyone could tell -- especially Kobe -- that his heart wasn't in it. He seemed lost at times in Mike D'Antoni's offense. He seemed to take mental vacations during vital basketball games during the Lakers' playoff push. He was disengaged, unhappy, and the entire organization knew it.

Strike two.

Two organizations within two years have felt the wrath of Dwight. Why the Lakers are still interested in re-signing him baffles me. He spent a year under Kobe Bryant's tutelage and minor improvements, if any, were made. We're talking about one of the best basketball players ever to lace up his sneakers, and you're telling me that you're not going to take his advice seriously and at least try to play with the passion he possesses? 

Yes, Dwight the Player is skilled, but Dwight the Person has major mental issues.

What ever happened to that fun-loving big man who would wow us in dunk competitions? He is way too sensitive to fulfill his god-given potential. He is more of a nusiance than a teammate. Regardless of his mental shortcomings and his lack of focus, some NBA team will offer him a max-deal and he'll live the lucrative life that seems to be destined for him. But is that enough?

As an NBA fan, aren't we being robbed by someone with so much potential but yet causes us such a headache? GM's beware! You may be getting a skillful bruiser, but there's no guarantee he'll be a leader, a team player, or even an asset in the lockeroom.

Yes, you may be getting your 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game, but is Howard really worth what you plan to offer him? Guys who work ten times harder with less mental baggage can get you similar stats. And that's without the constant negative publicity, and the questionable character and work ethic. 

Dwight: Shape up. You're so much better than what you display.