The Charlotte Hornets have needed a player like Dwight Howard for a VERY long time. Through all of his shakeups recently in the league, the player who was once touted as the league’s best centers found his way to the Queen City. This could be his final chance as Howard is looks to regain his dominant form with the Hornets.
What can we expect from our new, once upon a time all star center? That answer is super unclear. What we do know is that last year with the Atlanta Hawks Howard low-key averaged a double-double with 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds.
Honestly, that’s all I need from him, that’s all the Hornets need for him and what we all should be expecting. Someone who can dominant the paint, get consistent rebounds and increase the opportunity for second chance points? Outstanding.
Last season, Hornets starting center, Cody Zeller, who many believed had a better season than Howard, only averaged 10.3 points and only 6.5 rebounds per game, which was third in the team behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (7.0) and Marvin Williams (6.6). His season wasn’t really about stats, more so his presence alone made the Hornets a better team. But adding the big body Howard should instantly boost the team’s rebounding efficiency.
Where I worry about him is on the offensive side of the ball. I know he was once an outstanding a player to have on the pick and roll. That’s really how his Orlando Magic team thrived. Dump it to Dwight down low, defense collapses and kick out to one of your elite three point shooters. However, Dwight has sort of lost that respect around the league there won’t be as many defenses collapsing like they once did, at least at the start of the season.
However, having Kemba Walker as your point guard is going to help. Walker loves playing off of the pick. Countless times last season we saw the ole pick and pop played with Frank Kaminsky or Marvin Williams work so well. They tried to establish the pick and roll with Zeller, but the results weren’t as flashy — but he did improve as the season progressed. Anyways, giving Kemba the large target of Howard to dish the ball to down low off of the pick and roll should, in theory, work wonders.
If the Hornets shooters, can well, shoot the ball effectively this season --thankful for Malik Monk— we could be looking at a revolution on the offensive side of the ball.
If this works how we think it should this is going to create a lot more space for the rest of the offense to operate. As I said earlier, defenses won’t collapse as much to start the season, but if things start to gel for Howard you’ll see them collapsing a lot sooner. This is going to create a lot of space for guys like Monk, Kaminsky, Williams, Jeremy Lamb and Nicolas Batum when he returns from injury to have an opportunity to really make an impact on this team.
I think it would be wishful thinking to think that Howard could ever be an All Star again. He might have had a chance with the old all star game format, seeing that every star that was in the East before seems to have deserted the conference. But with this new format not being restricted by conference, no chance really.
But guys, thats okay!
We don’t need Howard to be an All Star, All Pro, or All Anything really. If Dwight can give 10 and 10 I will be a happy trooper. It’s honestly a problem when your small forward who isn’t nick named the Greek Freak is leading your team in rebounds per game. This is all going to change this season, and honestly I'm excited.
As long as Dwight can keep his head on his shoulders, I think he’ll have a nice, healthy season. That may sound like it is asking for a lot on my end but Charlotte is going to be a great place for him. The city and environment are wonderful and thriving. He’s back with his old coach who coached him in Orlando and Los Angeles, Steve Clifford.
And the greatest of all time is literally the owner of our team. He’s not going to allow Dwight to pull his usual antics. I think Jordan is actually going to help Dwight overcome some things. Teach him how to deal with the type of adversity that he’s been going through.
The fan base here will welcome Dwight with open arms, and I think his first season in Charlotte is going to be a special one.