Now that the Dwightmare saga is finally over with the 6’11” monster center deciding to join the Houston Rockets, the balances have drastically changed in the NBA. In addition to his movement, the gain and the loss of star power for a bunch of teams around the league was big. There’s no doubt that D12’s presence in Houston instantly puts the Rockets team on the list with title contenders. But what effect will this decision have to Howard’s fantasy numbers in the 2013-2014 season?
First of all, we all saw the Superman record a drop in most statistical categories. Partially because of the back injury issues that tortured him in the beginning of the season and also because of Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system that simply didn’t fit to Howard’s type of play, he wasn’t able to reach numbers close to his career highs. Also, the presence of Pau Gasol, an All-Star capable player next to him seemed to also slow him down offensively. If you add the shining stars of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in the mix, then it’s easy to figure out why Howard averaged only 17.1 points per game. This past season was his lowest-scoring of his career, since his sophomore one, during his Orlando days. His 12.4 rebounds per game easily won him the first place in the NBA, but still, they are nowhere near his career-high, which is 14.5 per game. His blocks also fell to a 2.2 per game during his tenure with the Lakers, with 2.9 being his career high. On the contrary, his field goal percentage was stabilized at 57.8 percent, which is 0.1 percent higher than his career average.
All those numbers are projected to change now that he’s joined the Houston Rockets. He will be the alpha dog of the team’s offense, sharing the load with James Harden. As he’ll be the dominant player of the team’s frontcourt, his rebounding numbers along with his blocks and points can easily reach his career highs.
It’s clear that Howard will now be the center piece of the Rockets team, both on and off the court. All the flashlights and the attention will be on him. If he manages to stay out of health issues, we can easily see the devastating center we all knew in Dwight Howard. In addition to his skills, the presence of excellent shooters in the team can only help him find easier shots, with fewer defenders around him. In fact we shouldn’t be surprised if we see Howard returning back to his 22-23-point per game and 14-15-rebound performances this season.
One aspect of his game he should work on is free-throw shooting. After entering the league as a Shaq-like free-throw shooter, Howard’s numbers have significantly dropped. That hurts not only his stats but his team, too, with many opponents intentionally fouling him to exploit his weakness. Last season he averaged an ugly 49.2 percent and the season before 49.1. Hopefully, under a new coach and with this new Rockets team, he will be able to raise those numbers.
About The Author:
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