Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: Teams That Must Land D12 to Become Title Contenders
The Dwight Howard trade rumor saga has gone on for quite a while and there's no doubt he'd be a great addition to any team.
Next Magic GM -- it's likely either Jeff Bower or Dennis Lindsey--- must hit ground running. Biggest job: Trading Dwight. He wants out.— Brian K. Schmitz (@MagicInsider) June 15, 2012
With that, let's take a look at a few teams who become immediate NBA title contenders if D12 goes on the move.
If anything, the Atlanta Hawks desperately need a dominating inside presence. Despite missing most of the regular season, Al Horford did perform well in the playoffs. However, Howard would be an upgrade and significantly bolster the Hawks inside.
Atlanta ranked No. 23 in averaging just 41.2 boards per game last season and only 17th in points (96.6). The Magic weren't far off offensively although Howard's their only main threat and finished No. 12 in rebounding.
It's also a great situation for Howard as the Hawks dished the ball around impressively well last season. Ranking No. 8 in assists, Howard will get better looks down low and have more opportunities to draw fouls.
The Hawks in turn, present a more effective offense and remain stellar on defense.
The Memphis Grizzlies were solid last season with a 41-25 record and finishing fourth in the Western Conference.
Unfortunately for the Grizz they were ousted by the Los Angeles Clippers 4-3 in Round 1 and the season was cut short. Well, landing Dwight Howard would solve a lot of issues for Memphis.
For one, getting more rebounds and a demanding presence in the paint is needed. The Grizzlies ranked just No. 16 in rebounds and averaged only 95 points per game. Memphis' defense was solid, but with Howard in the middle the Grizzlies can open up the offense a bit more.
Consistently feeding D12 down low will take pressure off O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley on the outside. Chances are Rudy Gay and/or Marc Gasol would have to be a part of the trade, but it's the frontcourt upgrade that Memphis can work with.
One major area the 76ers are missing is offense.
Philadelphia's defense, rebounding, and ability to share the wealth is damn impressive. But the inability to score has clearly affected the Sixers' chances in the postseason. Last season, Howard averaged 20.2 points per game, more than anyone on Philadelphia, and doubled the 76ers' two best rebounders.
With Howard the 76ers would have a more consistent presence in the paint, and a reliable scorer to enhance the offense.
Lest we forget, but Philadelphia ranked dead last in free throw attempts per game (18.2) whereas Howard was first in the association (10.6). Howard may not be a great free-throw shooter, but at least he'll get to the line and improve the Sixers' offense.
John Rozum on Twitter.
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