Set to turn 30 in early December, Howard is at one of the more confusing career turning points in recent memory. The optimist's view indicates that he has shed the negative image that accompanied him in Los Angeles and will soon return to widespread acclaim as one of the NBA's best interior defenders and rebounders. Yet even this view puts Howard in a spot several notches below his Orlando peak, when he served as the league's most impactful defender by a considerable margin and scored around 20 ppg on a terrific shooting percentage and a passable mark at the free-throw line.
The Howard of is a very good player perhaps best considered as a star-level role player, the kind of guy who excels in one area and must be planned around in others.
While it would go too far to say that Howard is now an offensive minus, his deficiencies at the free-throw line threaten to disrupt flow and force head coach Kevin McHale into notable decisions in many high-leverage situations and games. Perhaps Howard has diminished primarily due to injuries, which could mean that he is one healthy season from a return to outright superstardom. Unfortunately, most aging big men do not get more healthy as they enter their 30s, and it's possible that Howard will top out as a game participant over the rest of his career. The safe assumption is that, after several seasons of relative non-excellence, he has simply entered a new phase of what still rates as a Hall of Fame career.
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The operative question is if that is good enough for a Rockets team that signed him in July with the expectation that he would be a second superstar alongside Harden. Although a team led philosophically by Daryl Morey will never believe that the mere act of fielding two very famous athletes should bring a title, it's safe to say that a resurgent Howard would raise their ceiling considerably.
Sign up and join a league today! On the other hand, that doesn't mean that he needs to score. The Rockets have committed to organizing themselves as a 3-point-focused squad with at most one traditional post player, albeit without the volume of big man touches that saw Howard thrive in Orlando alongside marksmen like Rashard Lewis.
That leaves the center to score via putbacks, dunks, pick-and-roll opportunities and various other secondary opportunities with the Rockets, a big difference from the sort of ball-dominant ways the basketball world expects from top-level stars. Maybe that's for the better.
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Howard's failure with the Lakers came down largely to fit, both in an emotional sense and his on-court tendencies failing to jive with those of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol an injured Steve Nash didn't help either. Next to Harden, Ty Lawson, and the Rockets' cavalcade of quality role players, Howard's responsibilities are relatively simple.
The benefits of such an approach are clear — the five-team All-NBA First Team selection can focus on the areas where he is a truly fantastic player and not just a good one. Despite the injuries, Howard changed games in the postseason largely as a rim protector, which has always been in his greatest strength.
If we project Howard as a defensive specialist with still very solid offensive contributions, then his place in Houston becomes much clearer. That status does not make him the generation-defining star he once seemed capable of becoming, but the contemporary NBA increasingly looks like a league without room for many such players.
An eight-year-old girl and an year-old student have been confirmed in the deaths. This makes me so angry and sad at the same time. Thoughts and prayers with everyone in Manchester at this horrific time. Devastating news this morning.
Thoughts and prayers are with all those affected. United held a moment of silence on Tuesday during its training session.
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Knee injuries dwarf NFL's reported concussions. Furthermore, a number of additional security measures were implemented following the attacks in Stockholm last April. Manchester Arena is located about four miles from United's home at Old Trafford. The arena is about 2. Our hearts go out to our friends and all those affected in Manchester following tonight's tragic events.
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