Why Dwight Howard Is A Perfect Fit For Houston 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.