As recently as last week, word leaked out that the Golden State Warriors were on the list of teams Dwight Howard was considering signing with in the 2013 offseason. Although this might be cause for excitement in the Bay, it’s probably not happening.
If it feels as though the Warriors have been here before, it’s because they have. With the prom rapidly approaching, the prospective prom king mentioned a little over a year ago that he might take Golden State to the dance.
Instead, he postponed the whole thing and attended the event with the Los Angeles Lakers in what may be construed as one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history.
And yet, there is a ton of intrigue surrounding the big man for obvious reasons. Four years ago, he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals and looked like one of the most dominant two-way players the league had ever seen.
Some believe there’s a chance that player can be brought back. On the flip side, some believe he has peaked. In addition, his inability to handle criticism and expectations has painted the picture of a player with perhaps a fragile psyche.
Whether anyone agrees with the comparison or not, Howard has some Dennis Rodman in him: A once upon a time dominant defensive player starving for his fair share of attention.
But the moment the spotlight shined brightly on him and grandiose expectations were thrown his way, it seemed as though he wanted no part of it. Consequently, many opine that he will leave the Lakers in the summer of 2013 and join another franchise.
The Warriors are allegedly on his list, except for the fact they probably aren’t.
The most attractive destination appears to be the Houston Rockets. Between the style of play, low expectations and contract they can offer him, it looks like the perfect marriage.
Granted, the Lakers can present Howard a five-year contract whereas the Rockets can only offer him four years in length.
The Warriors could get cute and try negotiating a sign-and-trade with the Lakers provided Howard wants to join the Dubs.
His talents could fit marvelously around those of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He would be tasked with running pick-and-rolls as well catching and finishing at the hoop on a team stacked with shooters to open up the floor.
His defensive impact is not what it once was, but he is still a deterrent at the rim and a good if not great rebounder. He isn’t much of a post-up threat anymore — although that’s subject to change — and that would be mitigated by David Lee’s presence on the block.
Also, Lee is a great pressure release point because of his ball handling and passing. He isn’t in the class of Pau Gasol but he could replicate some of the chemistry Howard enjoyed with the Spaniard.
Thus, Howard might be a good fit in Golden State. Mind you, we will more than likely never find out.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s offensive limitations in the 2012-13 regular season and playoffs likely turn him into the third option behind Curry and Lee. That hardly sounds like an enticing proposal.
Mind you, if he were to rediscover his form, it’s an entirely different reality. But in truth, accurately predicting this development is next to impossible, which leads us to an intriguing question: can Howard play better going into 2013-14 than Andrew Bogut played in 2012-13?
The inquiry is preposterous in its nature. Howard was once on of the five best players in the league, while Bogut had aspirations of perhaps challenging D12’s supremacy defensively. In other words, at his best the Aussie was perhaps half the player Howard was at his apex.
But in this case, we’re not looking at productivity. We’re talking chemistry and fit.
Bogut may have only suited up in 32 games during the 2012-13 campaign, but he was a perfect fit for the Warriors. He exhibited great competitive spirit defensively and played within the flow of the offense.
He set screens, rolled hard to the basket and fed open shooters when the situation presented itself. His offense often came as a last resort and that helped maintain a pecking order on the team.
Howard’s need to be featured on offense might negatively alter the team dynamic and cause a collective regression. But on the other hand, incorporating his brute force underneath the basket on both sides of the ball could be an enormous advantage.
With his form recaptured, there might not be a better two-way game changer in the league. However, with his physical capacities diminished, there is no telling what Howard’s state of mind will be.
The former dunk champ might just be the greatest enigma in the league currently. Does that sound like someone the Warriors should pursue?
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