How Effective Would the Chris Paul and Dwight Howard Tandem Be?
A big story that has been going around the internet the last week has been about Chris Paul and Dwight Howard stating their desire to team up and play together next season. Both of their Los Angeles teams underperformed this past season and post season, which leads to the next question. Would a tandem of Paul and Howard work?
When looking at the career Dwight Howard has had, he has tended to make headlines for his off court attitude and back and forth decisions on where he has a desire to play. Ultimately, it landed him this past year on the LA Lakers, where he and Kobe Bryant led a veteran group to a lowly 7 seed in the West and a first round playoff exit. Dwight put up steady numbers with 17.1 PPG and 12.4 RPG, but was unable to help carry the Lakers when Kobe went down. However, Dwight remains the unanimous top center in the NBA. He definitely needs to clean his act up, but he has not gotten enough credit given some of the horrendous teams that he had surrounding him in Orlando. He still made them a top team year in and year out, even making the Finals one of those years. He is still the best center in the league, and will dominate when playing good ball.
Chris Paul has had two solid years with the LA Clippers averaging 16.9 PPG and 9.7 APG last year. He helped lead the Clippers to a 4 seed in the West where they held a 2-0 series lead over the Grizzlies before losing the next 4 and being eliminated. Ultimately, this was a huge disappointment for a team with the most athletic frontcourt in the NBA with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and a no doubt top 3 point guard, and in my mind, best point guard in the NBA. Paul can dish out assists left and right, yet takes over the scoring game when he needs to. In New Orleans, he made Emeka Okafor a force inside, so we can only imagine what he’d do for Dwight. Paul has not played with someone of Howard’s capabilities, so the desire to see him team up with him grows with these talks.
So if a team is able to pull off an enormous offseason and reel in both Paul and Howard, the question remains, will they be able to succeed together? When looking at all of the possible scenarios and taking into consideration both players wishes and desired destinations, it looks like this dream tandem if it going to happen, is going to happen with the Clippers. Looking at the Clippers, it does seem plausible since they both enjoy Los Angeles, and the Clippers are getting a new coach and have assets to trade away to make room. Even without Blake Griffin which looks like has to happen to get Howard, the Clippers would be working with the best point guard and center in the league. If nothing else for a year or two, I see this tandem working out better than many would believe. Dwight has put up great career stats without playing with a top 10 point guard (at the time; Steve Nash is well past his prime) his whole career. With Paul, I think we would see Howard’s best season yet. We have not seen a team be able to put together a true point guard and true center combo like this in a very long time. They would struggle in the West in their first year or two, but there is no reason why these two would not pose a major threat to the top teams in the West down the road. It is no doubt a long shot at this point, but it is a very exciting scenario to dream about nonetheless.