The Atlanta Hawks made a gutsy move when they signed Dwight Howard this offseason to a free agent contract. The move was made for basketball purposes but the Hawks must still be mindful of EVERYTHING they are getting when it comes to Howard.
Howard, when focused is still one of the best Centers in the NBA but it’s that other half of him that causes issues. During his time in Orlando, he was the happy-go-lucky young kid, just happy to be in the NBA. But once he stepped on the court, the smiles and jokes went away, while he just dominated the competition to the tune of 18 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game. But the relationship soured in Orlando and off to L.A. he went.
This is where Howard’s career and reputation began to take a hit. It was somewhat frosty as he left Orlando with reports of him being a prima-dona but when he arrived with the Lakers it got worse. This was to be a championship team with him, Kobe, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol but if never panned out due to injures and personalities. Kobe wanted more from Howard than he was willing to give.
He arrived in Houston looking to change the way people view him but issues with Harden arose and while Howard may have spoken some truth to Harden being a ball hog, he went about it wrong and was forced to leave Houston. Now, he returns home to Atlanta where he may face the same situation he did with the Lakers and Houston.
He will not be the main attraction there. He may be the hot commodity due to his stature and being a prized possession of the free agent market but the Hawks are still Paul Millsap’s team. Can the two of them co-exist in the paint remains to be seen? It can work as Gasol and Howard had a workable relationship when he was with L.A. Gasol and Millsap have similar games. Millsap loves the perimeter and being able to take a bigger defender off the dribble. Howard loves the post, where he can power his way past slower defenders.
Millsap is a great passer and will have no trouble finding Howard but will Howard still be okay with 10 shots per game with the Hawks being more of an inside-outside team with great shooters? This is the same issue he had with Harden and the Rockets. I would like to believe at this stage in his career Howard is ready to let go of those immature acts and focus on establishing his legacy and winning a championship.