Whether or not the Bucks should go after Dwight Howard gives me a headache.
There are many pieces to the Dwight Howard puzzle, and it’s a puzzle no one has been able to solve yet. Dwight is not the same monster he was when he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals. Injuries swallowed up chunks of seasons, masking his superior athleticism and turning him into a less dominant version of himself. Howard will never get back to that version of himself, because he’s not ever going to be that type of athlete again.
He’s killed coaches. He’s had rocky relationships with teammates everywhere he has went. Howard is caught somewhere between his prime and his career’s twilight. He’s been a man-toddler for his entire career.
What Dwight may or may not bring to the Bucks is up for debate. Although he’s not the athlete he once was, he would still be the most athletic center on the Bucks roster by a long shot. He would immediately improve their defense. He’s much more fleet-footed, and with the way the Bucks love to play defense sideline to sideline with their length, Monroe’s slow pace is not quite a match made in heaven.
Howard won’t fix any of the Bucks’ issues on offense. You can’t give him the ball on the block and feel great about your opportunity to score. He’s not going to stretch the floor, as he’s never been able to hit a jumper. He’ll grab his offensive boards, and he’ll catch his lobs and dunk them.
What he does on the floor isn’t even the most important question when it comes to bringing Dwight to Milwaukee. It all essentially comes down to this: how is he going to mesh with a young team that has been growing together for years? Dwight hasn’t meshed anywhere. He’s burned nearly every NBA bridge he’s had, although his last ended stint wasn’t nearly as public or dramatic as when he exited Orlando or Los Angeles.
Giannis, Khris, and Jabari are all under 25. Their careers are pretty much on the same arc. They all have their primes ahead of them. Howard is already 30. By the time that the Bucks’ young trio is truly ready to battle LeBron in the East (or any other major contender), Howard will be closer to mid-30’s. The timeline doesn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense.
Then again, if Howard is 80% of what he was in Orlando, he is one of the top five best centers in the NBA. Howard has been a wrestling match for coaches, teammates, fans, and even himself, for the majority of his career.
It’s tough to say that the pros of Howard outweigh the cons, and that might just say enough.
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