Let’s think clearly for a minute. All the flashy dunks and the defensive player of the year awards aside… Is Dwight Howard really the answer in Atlanta? I know all the “experts” are saying to give up everything, including Philips arena, to snag Dwight but is that really the chance the Hawks want to take? Especially if he doesn’t commit to the Hawks long term? The Hawks fan base is not interested in the playoffs anymore obviously. Bottom line is, they want a championship. So what makes us so sure Dwight will even give the city that?
Let me be clear, I think Dwight is a great player. He can alter a game with his great rebounding and defensive effort on a nightly basis. And to be quite frank, his presence will make casual fans and the national media take Atlanta serious.
With that being said, I am not sold that he is the answer to the problems in Atlanta.
Am I insane? I guess you could say that, but I’ve never thought of Dwight as an all-time great like some people do. I see him as a big fish in a little pond. Dwight has many limitations that are covered up by his athleticism (kinda like LeBron James but that’s a whole different article). Dwight is a terrible offensive player outside him just being a physically better than most players. He has no back to the basket post moves outside of bully ball which doesn’t work against legit centers. So you can’t give him the ball and say “Dwight go get us 30” like you could with Shaq, Olajuwon, etc. So is he as great as we think?
Now I’ll say with roster as is, I could only see Dwight pulling a CP3 and giving the Hawks a year to see what will happen. If that’s the case, the question is can the Hawks win a championship with him? Because as I stated earlier most fans from what I have been reading could care less about playoff wins. So I put together a few possibilities via the trade machine and can up with a few different scenarios.
The best deal for both teams would be Al and Kirk for Dwight. Al’s a good player, Kirk expiring contract, and throw in some picks and Orlando might bite. Josh doesn’t make much sense in Orlando seeing as though if they do trade Dwight they will need somebody capable of being a Center and Al is capable. Now I’m sure there could be other teams that could get in and make the trade interesting but for argument sake I will use that trade.
One problem the trade presents is Dwight can’t hurt you outside of 15 ft which leaves no lanes for Josh Smith. This puts Josh into more of a shooting Power Forward position since Dwight is going to clog the lane most possessions. And nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wants to see Josh put in that position. Especially since Josh doesn’t have the highest basketball IQ. It could possibly help Joe and Marvin because of the double teams some teams will bring at Dwight. That will get them a lot of open looks. If you decided to keep Teague it could potentially hurt him because his game is getting to the basket. Howard again clogs up the lane which takes away a lot of driving lanes. If Teague became a better shooter/playmaker then Howard would certainly help his game. Again that’s only one scenario, it could be better could be worse.
So with Dwight/Joe/Josh as your core for say two years could you beat Bosh/Wade/James or the Bulls? I’m not sure. Joel Anthony is a solid defensive center (and that’s all he does well) and Joakim Noah is one of the best post defenders in the league. Both have given Dwight problems in the past. Also both teams have players (Rose, LeBron, Wade) that could get Dwight in a lot of foul trouble. (Another problem of his) And even if you do get past those two teams. You presumably run into the Thunder or Lakers. The Thunder just has the best post defender in the league Kendrick Perkins and the Lakers will throw Andrew Bynum out there and match up very well.
So again Dwight is certainly not the answer short term. Now if he says he wants to stay long term(which I doubt), he’s only 26 so you can maybe build some pieces around him (hard to do with JJ’s contract). I know the Atlanta Hawks fan base is dying for a superstar since it’s apparent they will never embrace Joe of being that. If the ASG wants to win over some fans they can go ahead and give Sund the green light and hope that Orlando takes the bait. But if the fans and ASG are really serious about a championship, then they might want to wait for a better ALL AROUND deal to come.