Its kind of fitting that I would have the opportunity to write about Dwight Howard after Rev and Kenny wrote about Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki. You know what the obvious difference is from Howard compared to Nash and Nowitzki?
Right...wait, what? No, I did not that. I mean they are both melanin-ly challenged, but that's not what I meant.
No, I mean that Howard is the two-time defensive player of the year. We can safely assume that Dirk and Steve have NEVER been the best defender on their own team. Defense wins championships, and I'd bet my money on #12's team quicker than anyone else in the league (okay, besides the Lakers & Cavs.)
Dwight Howard changes the game in such a totally different fashion, that it's kind of mind-boggling. Its kind of like the reason that some people just can't play football; you know, because they are afraid to get hit. Or how some people are totally afraid to stand up and speak in front of a group of people; they just can't do it. That's how Dwight Howard affects people that want to drive in the lane and get to the bucket. Folks just generally don't do it.
Put it another way, when was the last time you saw Dwight Howard really get dunked on? Its been a long, long time since the Kobe massacre on Dwight. We all know Dwight is the league-leader in blocks (2.8/game this season), but he makes more of an impact just by making people THINK he's going to try and block their shot. Plus, after you realize that he's murdalizing everyone on the boards, he's effectively limiting the shot opportunities for the other team.
So let's be clear, I'm not really happy that Dwight still doesn't have a post move at all. He's like Moses Malone was 25 years ago, as he used to call it, "throw it and get it." That was effectively Moses Malone's offensive play. You all throw it up on the rim, I'll get it, and we'll get two points. Isn't that pretty much what Howard does? It is effective, I can't lie. However, Howard defensively dominates a game in such a similar way to how Nash does offensively. He affects EVERYONE else on the court. The Magic defenders can press up on their offensive counterpart, basically daring them to try and go by them, because they know they got that monster behind them. That is a major issue for other teams (see LeBron in '09) and changes most people's game plan.
The other major point for Howard is this; you could arguably say that if you could pick one player to start your team right now, you would take Howard over anyone. I've heard some people say that you could even take Howard over LeBron (which is absurd) in some instances. Howard's truest value is that there just aren't any big men of his stature in the league who are that athletic and able to dominate parts of the game like he can. His value is that he makes life easier for everyone else. Guarding a tough offensive wing player? No worries, DH got my back. Can't get off a shot? No worries, just throw it near the rim and DH got my back. Jump shot ain't going down? No one will notice, because DH got my back.
The value to make someone's life easier is as valuable as anything in life. Ask anyone who leaves a stressful job to something less tenuous. They'll preach to you the benefit. That's why Dwight should be the MVP.
Now if we can just get that man some regular fitting shirts...start calling him SHOULDER MAN!
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