Kent Bazemore stated that the Atlanta Hawks are Dwight Howard’s team. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
In pretty much all professional sports, there is always the labeling of which team “belongs” to which star player.
For instance, last season the Chicago Bulls’ backcourt made up of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were often included in headlines and articles debating who the team belonged to. Now obviously, the teams technically belong to the owners, but it is a phrase that is often used to give the idea of who that specific team should be built around and how their success is most vital to the team winning.
The Atlanta Hawks lost the face of their team this summer in Al Horford after he decided to sign with the Boston Celtics. On the other hand, they gained another skilled big man in Dwight Howard to fill the void. They also re-signed swingman Kent Bazemore to a four-year $70 million deal. A contract with those type of numbers usually calls for a ton of more responsibility. Bazemore is prepared to carry the pressure, but he wanted the fanbase to know that this team belongs to Howard.
Bazemore told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
“They brought in Dwight Howard, who is one of the most dominant centers of all-time and poised for a breakout year. He seems super hungry. I’ve chatted with him a few times and he seems like he’s ready to get after it. It’s a situation for him where, unlike in L.A. and unlike in Houston, this is going to be his team. We’ll work off of him. We understand that he’s been to the NBA Finals and played on some great teams. We’re looking for him to be a leader for us, and I think he can do it. Him coming back home and being comfortable here, I think that makes a world of a difference.”
This statement could make Hawks fans question what Bazemore was thinking considering Paul Millsap is still on the roster and is clearly the best all-around player.
BUT, Bazemore’s statement will supply Howard’s confidence tremendously. And hey, maybe after two stops–one for the Los Angeles Lakers and one for the Houston Rockets– Howard can finally feel like his teammates want him to be the big piece in their success. It began that way in Houston, but eventually developed back into James Harden dictating anything and everything that went on offensively.
Howard’s past may not indicate that he is prepared to take on a leadership position like Bazemore seems to think, but his time in Atlanta will be used to revitalize a career that was once so bright.
Having your teammates confidence can do wonders for any player or coach for that matter. Knowing your team is behind you can force you to look much better than you actually are. We’ve seen the bad Dwight Howard, and now it’s time for him to return back to the dominant force in the paint he once was.