That is a text message I received from Mr. Schuster the other day, and after thinking about it, I completely agree with him.
So last night I asked him to elaborate, and I’d post it today.
Here ya go, and this should be a good one in the comments:
Let me first preface this by saying in no way shape or form is this a dig at Dwight Howard. I think he is the most dominant big man in the league. He can change games just by his rebounding and block shots alone… which is a good thing b/c he certainly can’t change it on the offensive end. In my opinion, Dwight Howard is a ‘rich man’s’ Dikembe Mutumbo. Dominant on the defensive end and not really much of a threat on the offensive end. Now don’t get me wrong, Dwight is 5x the athlete Dikembe was, and outside of Lebron and maybe Josh Smith, Howard may be the most athletically gifted athlete in the NBA.
I know, I know, people will say that Howard averages 17 ppg and averaged slightly over 20 the two previous years. However, if you have ever watched Orlando play you would know that all of his points come right at the rim on a put back, a fast break (because he is faster than almost every other big man), or just simply b/c he is able to establish such good low post position based purely on the fact that he is bigger, stronger, and faster than most who guard him. (Sounds kind of like Shaq… I will get to that later) Which brings me to another point… What competition at Center does Howard have? It is widely known that there aren’t many true centers in the NBA right now. Yao can’t stay healthy, Oden can’t stay healthy, Bynum is still developing, Lopez is going to be real good but he’s still young, Kaman is pretty good, Z is a shooting guard in a seven footers body, and Shaq is in his 18th year. So you get my point. Howard should be dominating the league right now. Instead he averages 17 ppg (very good but not dominant) and only attempts 9 shots per game. Why you ask? I say it’s because he cannot create his own shot. Have you ever seen Dwight hit a baseline or elbow jumper? Do you consistently see him back people down and hit a turnaround jumper? Maybe on accident but not consistently. Also, is Dwight ever really a factor in the 4th quarter? As I’ve said, he can’t create his own shot and he is a liability at the FT line. Is it a coincidence that Orlando has regressed a bit this year with the loss of Hedo Turkoglu? Turkoglu was Orlando’s closer, the man who had the ball at the end of games when someone needed to create a shot.
Ok, so Dwight is bigger, faster, and stronger than most people who guard him. He can’t hit FTs and most of his points come on dunks. That sounds a lot like Shaq to me as well, but at this same point in Shaq career he was putting up 29 ppg and winning championships playing against the likes of all time great centers in Ewing, Robinson, and Olajuwon. Shaq’s game was based on power just like Dwight’s, but Shaq did have some low post moves. The guys career average is still about 25 ppg and that is after some pretty subpar years lately. Also, many say Shaq is one of the best passing big men ever.
Now, If you take a look at Mutumbo’s prime years he consistently put up anywhere from 11-14 ppg, 10-14 rpg, while being one of the league leaders in block shots and remaining a fixture on the all-defensive team. Very similar to Dwight’s career path. Right now Dwight’s career averages in ppg and rpg are 17 and 13. So is he a ‘poor man’s’ Shaq or a ‘rich man’s’ Mutumbo?
If you ask me, he hit it right on the head.