The ‘Man of Steel’ has made an appearance in theaters. Houston will have a problem, if he and the Rockets don’t make an NBA Finals appearance soon…….
Since, the L.A. Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals, there has been little resemblance between Dwight Howard and the real Superman. Or, at least the character, Superman. In fact, at times Dwight Howard’s performance not only hasn’t resembled that of Superman, but it’s more resembled that of another superhero……’Blankman’. The key word here is Blank.
Ok. Maybe, ‘Blankman’ is a bit exaggerated, but there is no exaggerating the disappointment Dwight Howard has been on and off the court, in Orlando and Los Angeles. Ironically, after just one season, Howard has left the same franchise, that beat his Orlando Magic team and seems to have started him on his downward spiral. The Lakers and Howard were a bad marriage from the start, and the divorce had to happen. The Lakers, or at least Lakers president Jim Buss anyway, seem content with Mike Dantoni being the head coach, and Dwight Howard seems content with his assessment that Dantoni is an idiot. So, why all the drama? Frankly, the only reason I’m not surprised there was so much speculation and doubt about where Dwight would end up, was because it was Dwight Howard’s decision. ‘Captain Indecisive’, himself. Of course, it is more understandable when the Lakers offer could add an extra year, and be about $30 million higher than the Rockets could offer. That would make anyone think twice. There is also, the notion that it still might be easier to win a title in L.A… Houston definitely seems to be on the right track, but the Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in sports. The same place where players dream of being a star, and winning a title, Dwight left. So, did Dwight make the right decision?
Absolutely! The Rockets are an up and coming team with a superstar in the making. James Harden, whom the Rockets picked up in a trade, before last season with Oklahoma City, is just the type player Howard needs by his side. Harden, should be able to take a lot of the pressure off of Dwight, thus making it a lot easier for him to focus on just playing the game. Who better to help him play the game, than arguably the best power forward in NBA history, head coach Kevin McHale (a three-time NBA champion). The jury is still out on McHale as a coach, but he should be an immediate influence on Dwight. There’s also ‘The Dream’. Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon ( a two-time NBA champion), has worked with Howard on his low post moves and such, previously. Not only do these guys have the skill set, that can help polish Dwight’s game, but they also have the championship pedigree, that can help with Dwight’s mental focus.
Add to that, a system deployed by McHale, that should be a lot more comfortable for Dwight to fit into. The Rockets love to get it up and down the floor. Similar to the Magic teams, Dwight enjoyed success with. They shoot lots of 3 pointers, which Howard should help to open up more, with him drawing double teams in the post. Also, with James Harden, the Rockets should have one the best pick and roll duos in the NBA. Besides Harden, the Rockets have other pieces like Chandler Parsons, who is a budding star, and players like Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin who could be traded for more talent. Is all of this enough for the Rockets to contend for a title. Not now, but it can be down the road. Will Dwight be patient? There is an opt-out available after season three of the four year contract. The Rockets have 88 million reasons to be worried sick about, just which Dwight they’re going to get. Dwight Howard, can ease those worries by coming and out and being the player, that we all know he can be. On and off the court. If he does that, Houston won’t have a problem, and their mission to blast off to the NBA Finals just might be successful.