Dwight Howard had a lot of reasons why he didn’t want to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers: he didn’t like their team, he didn’t like Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni, he didn’t like the system that D’Antoni ran, and he didn’t like being Kobe Bryant‘s sidekick. He basically told the Lakers he liked the uniform and the Staples Center, but everything else had to change. He basically told them to get new players and an entire new coaching staff, and he would stay. Well, that didn’t exactly happen, and it forced Howard to find a new home with the Houston Rockets.
D’Antoni didn’t seem as disappointed as you might have thought; he even laughed a little at Howard’s decision to go to the Rockets. D’Antoni said, “The thing that cracks me up is Houston, they do the exact same thing, and so (Howard) is gonna go to Houston?”
D’Antoni also added, “He’s a force and he can be really, really good and dominate the league, but it’s in an area that he’s not loving right now. He wants to dominate a different way, in the low post and all that. But he needs to get better there, and he will. But his greatness is in defense and being a physical force. I think he’d be better served if he embraces that.”
D’Antoni has a point, it’s not like Howard is going back to Orlando Magic, where almost every possession ran through him. Last year in Houston, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale let the guards do everything; James Harden and the other guards did a huge chunk of the scoring. The Rockets were near last place in scoring in the post. I’m sure McHale will makes some changes so that Howard will get more touches.
In Howard’s defense, even in a year with a system that didn’t fit his skills and dealing with a nagging back injury, Howard was still able to lead the league in rebounding. He will be healthier this year and will be in a better situation with the Rockets. Howard will be fine in Houston; expect to see more of a 2009 Howard, even with Harden doing a lot of the scoring.