With Dwight Howard now with the Houston Rockets, there are many people that believe that this team could contend for an NBA Championship this season. The Rockets certainly have the talent to compete with Dwight, James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin in house. However, the bulk of their success will hinge on how well Howard performs in a new system.
If the Rockets’ first preseason game is any indication, Dwight is going to fit in quite well with Houston.
The Rockets opened up the preseason on Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans. As is often the case when Houston is involved, it was a high-scoring affair that ended with the Pelicans narrowly grabbing a victory by a count of 116-115. Even with the loss, though, no one shined brighter than Howard when he was on the floor.
Limited to just over 27 minutes in the contest because it’s the preseason and that’s the type of thing that happens, Howard still managed to put up an impressive line of 19 points, nine rebounds, three assist and one block while shooting 6-11 from the floor and actually converting on an impressive seven of his 11 free throw attempts.
Howard was big on the boards and for the Rockets’ interior defense, as you would expect him to be. However, it was Dwight’s offensive game that left me walking away pleased with his performance. Howard has long been an underrated and unnecessarily criticized offensive player, but he shined on Saturday. He was showing a solid array of post-moves, working in different sets, and running in transition with the Rockets.
Obviously one preseason game is an absurdly small sample-size, but this is a positive sign for the Rockets. The biggest concern the Rockets face for this season is Dwight not buying into their system and starting his prima-donna act once again. Judging by one game, however silly that may be to do, that doesn’t appear to be happening.