Why Dwight Howard Is A Perfect Fit For Houston Rockets

  • Jason Whitney

Dwight is the perfect fit for the Rockets

The Houston Rockets lost their first pre-season game against the New Orleans Pelicans but the team’s fans have lots of reasons to be optimistic rather than disappointed. That’s because they had a chance to enjoy a dominant Dwight Howard in his first game with the Rockets’ uniform.

Howard played 27 minutes in the first pre-season game of the Rockets and finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. What the stats and the number don’t tell, though, is the impact he had to the team and its style of play. The Houston Rockets looked comfortable on their offense, they had a better flow.

The presence of a monster down the paint gave many opportunities to James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and the rest of the crew to find better chances for an open shot. The Rockets were also very strong on the pick and rolls, with the defense forced to stay on the highest level of alert, when Howard was the one setting the screen.

With the formation the Rockets currently have, Howard seems to be a perfect fit. He can follow the team’s guards on the fast breaks, because he is relatively young. He can also draw much defensive attention close to the paint and free up the bunch of shooters the Rockets have on the perimeter. But also, he the Superman can finish easily close to the rim, when he catches the ball in the low post, sometimes posterizing his opponents.

On the defense, Howard is well-known about his abilities. With him barricading the paint against opposing penetrators, the team’s perimeter defenders can close down on the shooters and play a stronger defense. That’s exactly what the team’s backup point guard; Patrick Beverly did, when he picked the pocket of Jrue Holiday several times during the game. That lock-down defense on the perimeter was one of the main reasons the Pelicans attempted only 10 shots from downtown. It’s not like the team lacked of shooters.

Of course, there is more work ahead, a period that the Rockets will have to build chemistry and also, we will have to sit back and see how Omer Asik blends with Howard. The center out of Turkey didn’t appear in this pre-season game. However, the potential the team has is obvious. The Rockets can make it all the way to the top of the Western Conference this season.

In fact, we shouldn’t be surprised if we saw Houston chasing the Larry O’Brien trophy during its first season under the new formation and with Dwight Howard on the roster.

The certain thing is that the Houston Rockets do have the pieces on the court that are needed to seriously contend for a championship. Under the guidance of Head Coach Kevin McHale, they are expected to become as dominant as any other team in the West this season. Of course, Dwight Howard gets a great share for this change.

It’s still early in the pre-season, however, Rockets fans should be optimistic.

Ron Leyba is the lead editor of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. For more of his basketball insights, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues at Google+.

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7 Responses to Why Dwight Howard Is A Perfect Fit For Houston Rockets

  • Let’s analyze this “analysis”, shall we?

    “With the formation the Rockets currently have, Howard seems to be a perfect fit. He can follow the team’s guards on the fast breaks, because he is relatively young.”

    Got it? Howard is a perfect fit because he “can” follow the teams’s guards on (the) fast breaks because he’s young. By that logic all 19 year old rookies should do better than Howard because they’re even younger. That was very convincing.

    “He can also draw much defensive attention close to the paint and free up the bunch of shooters the Rockets have on the perimeter. ”

    Yes, because that worked very well the last few seasons in Orlando and L.A. Let’s not remember that it never worked unless he was able to dunk a ball uncontested, which only happened if someone could get him a pass under the basket, he didn’t fumble it, and he had no big bodies laying on him. Because everyone knows he can’t create his own dunk, he can’t dribble, he can’t make the inside-out pass, he can’t shoot from 3 feet or further, and he sure as heck can’t fight through a double team. Let’s forget all of that even though we have seen it for years.

    “But also, he the Superman can finish easily close to the rim, when he catches the ball in the low post, sometimes posterizing his opponents.”

    He the Superman? Excuse me, Amigo. What language are you speaking here? Never mind. Here the writer writes in a very poor English what I wrote above, Howard’s strength. He is a good rebounder and can dunk. And he defends well. Other than that, while you can dream about what “he can” do, you have to think of what he won’t do. He’s lazy. All these years in the league and he has never added to his game. He’s basically a more worn down version of his young self. He’s less hungry and motivated. He’s more serious about goofing around than making badly needed improvements, he can’t shoot a free throw if his life depended on it, he is not a leader, he wilts under pressure, and he has no killer instinct like Shaq, Bird, Kobe, Magic, Kareem, Parish, or even Garnet. He is a very flawed man-child with serious maturity issues. You can dream about all he “can” do but that’s not going to change the reality.

    One more thing. Cherish the next season. That is going to be his best year as a Rocket. He is going to give his best effort (that he is willing to give, not what he’s capable of) because he feels he has to prove something. Unfortunately, his something is not winning. It’s just showing up. His honeymoon will be over, he will soon become toxic to the club, he will feud with the management, he will be lazy, hurt, upset. He will be talking behind people’s backs and working to get a coach or player kicked out even though he’ll be swearing on the bible he did no such thing. And by year 4 he will have worn out his welcome. He’ll avoid talking about re-signing while pushing to get traded behind the scenes.

    How do we know all this? Because we have seen this movie, twice.

    To the author, JasonWhitney (why do you spell your name without a space? Did you run out of room?), you may think you wrote one heck of a piece but it was painful to read this. I have seen better writing from 3rd graders. I seriously recommend you take a couple of writing classes to at least improve the readability of your work, if not the poor grammar and sentence structure. Good luck to you.

    • Jason Whitney

      Todd Hellman,

      I’m super impressed with your rhetoric and based off that paragraph you picked a part, I’m assuming you are an editor at ESPN or Fox sports? I gotta be close right? But I probably should let you know that I DID NOT WRITE the article as it was done by a guess author. I guess I should have assumed you would have made it to the end of the story since you quote the entire piece. But here ya go Ace:

      “Ron Leyba is the lead editor of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. For more of his basketball insights, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues at Google+.”

      Todd Hellman apparently missed the gigantic letters that are linked that bolded. Anyway, maybe you should give the examples of poor grammar and sentence structure throughout, other wise you kind of sound like you just hate Dwight Howard and are personally attacking the writer. (which in case you missed the last sentence, I’m telling ya once again, I didn’t write the piece). I’ve just noticed you have had a propensity for forgetting important/key points when calling someone out, but no worries, I don’t mind correcting them for you.

      Lastly, your “Let’s analyze this “analysis”, shall we? statement seems like a great way to sucker me in to you cherry picking certain paragraphs you don’t agree with an then placing your highfalutin analysis on it. But I do love your pretentious takes after breaking down the kid’s article while taking it out of context. What school did you go to? I’m guessing some “prestigious two-year JUCO college?” Just a guess. But lets break down ‘your analysis”

      “With the formation the Rockets currently have, Howard seems to be a perfect fit. He can follow the team’s guards on the fast breaks, because he is relatively young.”

      Alright, I suppose if you were writing this to a “third” grader – as you so eloquently placed that label on the kid, I could see where we would have to literally explain to Mr. Smith’s third grade class this:

      What the author means is, Dwight Howard is going on 28 years old and he has had some injury problems that have slowed down his speed/explosiveness over the years on top of something called back surgery. However, Dwight should be strong enough and still young enough to keep up with the fast running Rockets gunners. – Are we set there Todd?

      “He can also draw much defensive attention close to the paint and free up the bunch of shooters the Rockets have on the perimeter. ”

      When Dwight is right, he still draws double-teams from nearly every team in the league Todd. As you stated, “he wasn’t trying and lazy,” and all that other stuff. So my question was, while doing all that and coming off back surgery, how come he was still able to put up 17ppg 12reb 2.5 blocks a contest? So if he is now in a better spot and feeling healthy wouldn’t those numbers increase?

      I could go on and on, but I’m wasting my time. I’m sorry my name together at the top got you vastly confused with the name at the bottom. But email him and explain how his writing is terrible. As for me, I’ll go tit for tat all day with you brotha

  • Jason,

    I’m not a writer for Fox or ESPN, and nor should I be. Being a writer for any major outlet requires certain abilities and qualifications which I doubt I have. Writing comments such as mine doesn’t require those qualifications so I feel entirely comfortable criticizing an analysis or even the writing. If the article is sound and my comment is dumb then the many readers will judge me out of line and my points invalid.

    As for the name of the author, I am amazed. The article has this on top of it:
    [Why Dwight Howard Is A Perfect Fit For Houston Rockets
    Published October 9, 2013 | By JasonWhitney

    In every country in the world that’s the conventional saying of who the author of the article is. If you didn’t write that then don’t say “by JasonWhitney” under the title.

    The line at the bottom says

    [Ron Leyba is the lead editor of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. For more of his basketball insights, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues at Google+.

    I have no idea why you think phrasing putting that there means “forget the top part where it says ‘By JasonWhitney’ and instead take that name at the bottom that says Ron Leyba is a lead editor somewhere and think that Ron is the author, not Jason.” If the article is by Ron Leyba why not state “this article is by Ron Leyba who is the editor of …”? Show me one article by a major site that attributes authorship like that. Otherwise, admit the convention you are using here is extremely misleading.

    About the analysis part. I get what Ron Leyba was trying to say about Howard being young and “able” to keep up with the young guards. You missed what I said, which was just because you “can” doesn’t mean you “will”, something that is well known about Howard. Howard has certain abilities but I said he’s too lazy and perennially unmotivated to live up to those abilities and potentials. You also missed that part. He hasn’t improved his game. His free throwing is worse than Shaq which makes him a prime target for hacking, a well known technique for stopping him from easy dunks. He has no mid-range shot and has to get under the basket to score. I pointed his strengths and his flaws. That makes my analysis more accurate. It does not make me a hater. Nowhere did I say I hate Howard. Ron Leyba only highlights strengths and possibilities while overlooking the flaws, calls him flowery, glorious names such as “superman”. That one sided picture makes his article NOT an analysis but a wishful portrayal. If you or him disagree with my analysis, take it apart with reason, not conjecture.

    As for the numbers that you mentioned, yup. He put up those numbers, and his numbers should improve in Houston. But the thing is his numbers before his injury and after, while good for a good center, are far from what makes a center “SUPERMAN” and far below his potential. He is not a superstar. His ability to sometimes draw double-teams does not make him a superstar. Most teams double-team the opposing team’s best player on occasion. Howard is a monster physically. He has tons of raw talent. His numbers should be far better than they are. They are not because he is lazy and he underutilizes his talents. He does not work to add more weapons to his arsenal. His free throwing has only gotten worse over the years. He’s too predictable on offense and not much of a threat to create his own shots unless when he gets an offensive rebound and is there to dunk it. He’s more interested in having fun than winning. 9 years in the league and he’s nowhere the transformational force that Magic, Garnet, Shaq or Duncan were, all of whom, especially Duncan, kept adding and improving and accomplishing. Howard has 2-3 years to prove me wrong. I’ll make you a deal. If in that timeframe he doesn’t accomplish that then you come back to me and admit that I was right. And if Howard does make a great achievement such as winning a trophy or two, then I’ll admit I was wrong about him being lazy. How’s that?

    • Jason Whitney


      First, again, sorry about the confusion with the article. You are the first person that we have had an issue with this from. But sure I understand how the issue could arise. I still didn’t get any examples of grammatical errors. Was he missing a comma somewhere? The only reason I’m sticking up for him is because it looks back for my site to have someone calling out one of my contributors that writes for a different site because the general perception will be that my site will be linked into the grammatically incorrect post.

      Moving forward, you are with the 90 percent of the NBA population when it comes to having a negative opinion on Dwight. And so am I to a degree. I know this because all of your points are anecdotal except for the poor foul shooting. we need to calm down and realize he is 28 years old (or turning 28) and came off a MAJOR back injury man. It’s easy to sit back and watch these hoops players run 48 minutes and then board a plane to go across country and do it again and expect 100 percent out of them, but that’s not how it goes. He’ll get better, people said the SAME thing about Shaq and being too goofy to want to win. THey said LeBron didn’t have the killer instinct.
      Listen, You’ll be the first guest on the podcast for sure! I’d love to have this debate with you -assuming you didn’t go ape shit on me lol But keep checking us out at Pass The Pill and w’ll be having an update soon about it. I hope you enjoy our work for the most part. Everything is subjective and tought to please everyone.


  • Jason,

    Here are some of the grammatical errors:

    “What the stats and the number don’t tell, though, is the impact he had to the team”

    It’s impact ON the team, not to the team.

    “The Houston Rockets looked comfortable on their offense, they had a better flow.”

    You separate two independent sentences with a period or a semi-colon, not a comma.

    “The presence of a monster down the paint gave”

    It’s “in the paint” or “down in the paint”, not down the paint.

    “The Rockets were also very strong on the pick and rolls, ”

    Second “the” unnecessary.

    “with the defense forced to stay on the highest level of alert, when Howard was the one setting the screen.”

    Comma unnecessary.

    “With the formation the Rockets currently have, Howard seems to be a perfect fit. ”

    Comma unnecessary. Poorly constructed sentence.

    “But also, he the Superman can finish easily close to the rim, when he catches the ball in the low post, sometimes posterizing his opponents.”

    It’s “Superman”, not “the Superman”. How many Supermans are there? Commas misplaced. Terribly constructed sentence. “he the Superman”? Who talks like this?

    “On the defense, Howard is well-known about his abilities.”

    It’s “on defense” not on the defense. It should be “well-known FOR”, not ABOUT.

    “That’s exactly what the team’s backup point guard; Patrick Beverly did, ”

    It should be comma instead of semi-colon.

    This was only half of the article. I’m an average guy, not an English teacher but still, I find this article
    to be a poorly written piece. Looks like something someone put together rapidly, didn’t proofread (I hope they didn’t… What if they did and didn’t see all these things that are wrong with it. That means that person is semi-literate.) If I, an average guy, find so many problems with it, imagine how much more turned off more educated and eloquent readers would think of it. This is a web site and web-sites are driven by the quality of their work, not the number of the words they use. Quality matters. If you want to set your site apart, never ever stop pressing for upping the need for higher and higher quality. Even one typo, one missed comma catches attention and taints reputation. Secondly, articles that are too partial and biased would only attract the fans of the home team rather than tapping into the much broader general audience.

    As for your points, some of my analysis might have been anecdotal but most of it was quite factual. Has he added any shots? Does he have a mid-range game? Is he known for his effort? Is he living up to his potential? Have his numbers improved year by year or gone backward?

    He is not ONLY 28. He IS 28. 28 is young for the general population but is not very young in sports. The average career of an NBA player lasts about 6 years. 28 is the average age that NBA players retire at. This an extremely physical and demanding league. The seasons are very long. The body begins to break down early. Kobe and Wade are fairly young and their bodies are breaking down. Shaq’s body began to break down at about 28 also and he would only play part of the season from that point on in order to save his body for the play-offs. Howard has been in the league NINE years. That’s 1.5 times the average career span of NBA players. He has not improved. I know he had an injury this last season but his attitude is not injured. Why does it get worse every season? Why does he end up making enemies as time goes on? Name several of his ex-teammates who say good things about him if you can find any.

    I watched many of the games last year. His head was not in most of the games he played. It was worse than last season, and last season was worst than the previous season. The extreme wealth and attention that these players get at a very young age spoils them. It doesn’t help that they go straight from high school to the pros or after 1 year of college. They are too immature. Because of that many of them are not hungry enough to want championships. By the time they learn there are things more important than the millions they are past their peak or even retired. You may think 28 is a good age. I’d say 28 is a bad age for Howard because 9 years of wealth, attention, women have eaten into his motivation and 9 years of playing is now beginning to take its toll. The bottom line is all this is backed by the results of what he has achieved. His numbers are good for a star, but not for a superstar. Also, much of what I say is backed by what other superstars such as the great Bill Russell and Magic Johnson have said about him.

    Now, I’ll give you a real anecdote and you can quote me on this. He does not succeed because he is not an alpha male. Kobe, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Durant, McHale (his coach), these are alpha males and therefore alpha athletes. If Howard ever wins a championship I guarantee you it will be on the back of another alpha male. An alpha male is someone who is born to be a leader and by instinct seeks to absolutely dominate and impose his will on others to lead them at all costs. That he is not. He has a Herculean physique but he’ll always be a goofy boy at heart. You can load his teams with other superstars but as long as one of them is not an alpha male he will never win a championship. Remember the only finals he made it to, when he was matched up against Kobe and the Lakers? Remember how in the first game during the tip-off he was goofing around, going “Kobe! Kobe! My man! Smile Kobe! Why ain’t you smilin?” and the whole time Kobe ignored him with that business-like, focused, razor-sharp gaze as though he was going “oh, little boy, I’m so going to tear you and your team to pieces”? It became so obvious at the point that Kobe was going to carry his team on his back, because he was the tiger on the prowl, the hungry wolf, the cold-blooded killer, looking at the jolly good Howard and his Superman cape as his road-kill. All these years later Howard still hasn’t gotten it, that to win you need to have that savage ferocity, and so he hides behind his goofy little boy facade. In fact, I think Kobe, even though tiny compared to him, scares Howard with his alpha-male ferocity and that’s a big reason why Howard never clicked with him. Howard wilted in the presence of the demanding, bossy, explosive Kobe and never felt comfortable there. It wasn’t so much the system or the contract or the coaching. It was how Kobe made him feel like a little boy. I don’t know whether Kobe knew this or not, but he probably helped run Howard out of town with his ferocity. This was an important step back for Howard. If he had dominated, made the Lakers his team for one season and then walked to wherever he wanted to go I couldn’t say this. But he squirmed for a season and meekly walked away after a lot of vacillation.

    I have spent a lot of time on this thread. Sorry if I came across too harsh. Good luck with your site and articles. I wish you all the best.

    • Jason Whitney

      Todd, I had a message and it deleted so this one won’t be nearly as long.

      Essentially I said you should email the writer about his errors and not call him out on a message board. I agree with the fundamental points of grammar and making sure your website upholds the heightest standards when it comes to journalism/content. Even though I’d almost argue that in this era there are not many grammar conscience readers out there. Christ, just go to Facebook and check out some of those messages. Anyway, off the point, you are right and he will be getting an email.

      As for your Dwight Howard being 28 and the average NBA shelf like being 6 years. That my friend is egregiously skewed. First off, you are lumping Dwight Howard in with the bums that are the 12/13th men at the end of the bench that try to hang out every year to a team. The average NBA shelf life compared to Super Star or Top 50 players in the NBA for that matter, are enormously different- apples to oranges. At 28 Howard is in his prime. Kobe happens to be 35 years old. Wade is around 32 years old, both many years after 28 years old. Let not forget Kevin Garnett who is 37 and Paul Pierce who is 35/36 too. GOod players take care of their bodies and usually end up playing into their 30s. Say what you want about Dwight, he takes care of his body. He had two terrible years with the Magic that subsequently led to back surgery and then coming back early to play for the Lakers – a team we all knew he had no desire in playing for. Now, does that make him a diva? Sure, but then we can name every god damn NBA top player that is a diva then. LeBron? CHris Paul? Carmelo? Deron Williams? Kobe Bryant at one time wanted out, same with Paul Pierce. Point is that’s being hypocritical to ignore these other stars that have done the same thing, but then just hammer it on Dwight!

      And Bill Simmons has made the term “alpha male” very popular which I think has flaws. Name me all the “alpha male” centers you have on the list? If you want to stroll down the NBA “Alpha Males” tell me when you’d hit your first center? DOn’t give me Shaq, people had the SAME complaints with Shaq as they do Dwight. Was it Hakeem? Point is, you’d be hardpressed to find many centers that fit the bill for that. There are guys who can create their own shot and gunners. Centers usually don’t take jab step jumpers, or cross overs to the cup, or just isos from the top of the key. I could be wrong, but I’ve yet to see it.

      Now how about this. You write me a piece about why Dwight Howard is a terrible fit in Houston and I will publish it

  • Jason,

    The only reason I listed the errors is because you asked. My intention was not to be an English teacher. In the original comment I had simply stated the writing is of a very poor quality. I’m not going to contact the original writer, nor go around the net correcting the mounds of basora that people put out as writing. I will free to poke fun of sportswriters’ poor writing skills whenever I comment. Someone who has “writer” as a part of their occupation or hobby should at least have better writing skills in their article than me and my comments, not worse, because I don’t consider myself a writer. I know people’s writing skills have gone down, and even regularly published sportswriters have some errors. That’s no excuse though. Why not at least make a try. I don’t care how bad people write on Facebook. I don’t consider 12 year olds updating their status “writers” so my expectation is very different for them. Someone who calls themselves a writer should take pride in at least proofreading. Accepting mediocrity in anything leads to mediocrity in everything.

    Much of what you say simply supports what I say. So, on some facts we agree. We differ on interpretation. For instance, you didn’t disagree about what I said about numbers, improvements, attitude, etc. So we’re in agreement on the base facts. I’m interpreting those to be his immaturity, lack of commitment, lack of drive, liking fun more than liking winning. You’re interpreting it to mean he was just on the wrong team and not motivated. I agree that he was not motivated but that simply supports what I say: a professional player who gets paid millions is supposed to put in 100% even if they don’t like their team. Why sign the contract, take the money and then crap on the fans. What an immature, selfish and miserable thing to do. Furthermore, you think he’s on the right team now and should do well. If he is a the perfect fit that means they should win at least a couple of titles in the next few years. Let’s use that as the gauge.

    Everything you said about DH’s injuries is consistent with what I said, you just have a different interpretation. I said this is a physical league and players begin to break down in accordance with the number of their years in the league. His is 9 years, and he has had 2 major injuries in the last 2. That’s consistent with players breaking down. His best years, physically, may be behind him already. If he changes his attitude though his best years overall maybe ahead of him, but I have yet to see the commitment.

    About Kobe and Garnet wanting out of teams just like DH I’ll just say these couple of words. The difference is while they wanted out of their teams they were still fully committed when they stepped on the floor. They brought it on every night. DH doesn’t. Therein lies one of the major differences.

    Thanks for the offer but I already said everything about DH in these comments that I felt relevant. I’m not going to write a piece about why DH is terrible fit for any team because firstly, he’s not a terrible fit for Houston, especially if he changes his attitude, works on improvements and plays up to his potential, and secondly, my problem with him is not a matter of fitting. With this attitude the only thing he is a perfect fit for is a party, not any pro teams. If I do come up with a subject about which I have something well-informed to say I’ll share it with you to see if you’d like to publish it. Thanks for taking the time to write back. I respect you for that.

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