“Try to Understand, He’s a Magic Man”

Although it’s early in the post-season, Dwight Howard has easily had the most dominant performances.  I continue to be blown away by the development of this man who we used to call a ‘kid’ in what seems like yesterday.  Just the other day I was saying that Derrick Rose was the human version of a ‘create-a-player’ from a video game at the point guard position, but Howard fits the same label.  We’ve never seen a guy like Dwight.  A 7-foot center who has the shoulders of The Incredible Hulk, hands the size of catchers mitt, the power of a bulldozer and can literally kiss the rim.  We’ve seen centers sharing some of those attributes, but not all together.  And you know what, there’s other guys in this league who seem to have these physical tools too…the athletic 6’10-7′ players who are strong, can jump and have touch, but Howard links up his physical capabilities with his mental determination to do the things he does on a nightly basis.  I’ve seen Darius Miles score 37 points in a game, Rashard Lewis go for 50 and Mike James put up 39, but the difference between these guys and the players we’ll remember is breaking through the barrier of “capable” and actually performing at that high level every single night.  And that’s what separates the greats:  The consistency.  Dwight Howard has served as a pillar of consistency for seven years now and somehow is still getting better.  This past week when Dwight earned his NBA record third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year Award, at the age of 25, Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith called D12 “…probably the most dominating player in history right now.”  And while I’m a bit confused whether Smith meant most dominant in the game ‘right now’ or in the ‘history’ of the league, I pretty much understand what he was saying…and I agree.  Forget the small sample size of the combined 79 points and 38 rebounds Dwight posted through his first two playoff games against Atlanta (Which, by the way, was the first time a player had gone for at least 33 and 19 in his first two playoff games since Shaq did it 10 years ago), but rather peek at his entire seven-year career.  Dwight Howard has amassed over 10,000 points, over 1,200 blocks and most impressive of all is the 7,287 rebounds he’s yanked off the glass.  I don’t think we always properly acknowledge a feat in the moment it’s being done but rather tend to reflect on it after the fact, but I’m here to tell you that you’re enjoying or not enjoying one of the greatest careers in the history of basketball.  Think of the other big men we hold dear in our hoop nostalgia.  The Ewing’s, Olajuwon’s, Shaq’s and Malone’s of the world.  Where will Dwight stack up to these centers, who over time, have become basketball gods?  If D12 can attach some championships to his personal success, I think he’ll be right near the top.   If you look at Dwight Howard’s rebounding numbers in his first seven years in the league and compare it to the first seven years of the four Hall of Famers I mentioned, I think you’d be surprised.  Dwight has 10% more rebounds than Hakeem Olajuwon, 15% more than Karl Malone, and 24% more than Shaq.  Oh, and Patrick Ewing?  Through their first seven years Dwight has, literally, 2,000 more rebounds (30% higher rate of rebounding) than good ‘ol ‘double ice bags’.  In between all the rebounding, Dwight squeezes in time to lead the NBA in double doubles (Sorry KLove!), is top five in blocks and second in the L in FG%.  His moves have developed with the numbers as well.  What used to be a one weapon arsenal of ‘catch, dunk, repeat’, is now full of spins, hooks and banks.  I’m not sure how far this Orlando team will go in these playoffs, but I can name you the one guy that will show up and pull his weight and more.  And who knows if Dwight’s jersey will say ‘Orlando’ in the future, but wherever dude goes I’m sure he’ll be squashing shots, overpowering defenses and doing his best to tear the rim from its bolts.  Just judging from his continued committment to develop on both ends of the floor, combined with his willingness to learn from those same Hall of Famers (Ewing and Olajuwon), I’m sure you can tell I don’t think this force is stopping anytime soon.  And with a name like ‘Superman’, there’s little room for slacking.  Another superhero could have been talking about Howard when he said: “To infinity, and beyond!”  Go Dwight. 

For your viewing pleasure, here is the 10 “best” plays from D12 this season.  Reminder, this is one season, not a career.  (On the #1 play, check out the dude on the Philly bench in the suit react to his own teamate getting dunked on…halarious).

4 Responses to “Try to Understand, He’s a Magic Man”

  1. Kyle says:

    He just needs more help in Orlando..great place to live, good organization, good coach, just no support around him

    • James says:

      Truth…. GM Otis Smith is a complete clown. The Magic have the 5th highest payroll of all sports teams in the world (per player, they are behind only barca, real madrid, yankees, lakers) yet the Magic aren’t an elite team. Smith trades for Vince Carter, realizes he sucks, trades him away. Repeat with Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis… Don’t even get me started on Gilbert Arenas. Think he was bad this year? Orlando has him locked up for 3 more seasons, at $20 mil per. And Hedo? He was too expensive to resign (@5 yr 53 mil he was wayyyy overpaid) so Smith rightly lets him walk…. only to trade away pieces to reacquire him AND be on the hook for his monstrous deal. Are the Magic really any better than any team in the NBA would be with their two consistent pieces (Howard and Jameer)? Khan (Minn GM) could run this team more efficiently. Magic fans: have fun with ancient Gilbert, ancient Hedo, and ancient Chris Duhon (all under contract) in 2014 cause Dwight, JJ, and Jameer will be long gone.

      • steve says:

        I agree, gilbert cant move, looks like a joke…and what they paid rashard is offensive…Otis will likely be out in the next year or so….o and btw if Jameer is ur next best player u got problems, without dwight i dunno if there a playoff team

  2. Anonymous says:

    If the Magic don’t go deep in the playoffs Howard is gone. He’ll look great in a knick uniform or Net uniform.

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