Dwight Howard: Howard, Jeremy Lin Are Among NBA's Most Mind-Boggling Stars

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IJuly 19, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks off the court during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Fans pride themselves on being able to figure out the mental and physical capacities of NBA players like Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin. Everyone has been doing it for years to the NBA’s most adored and most hated players.

Think about it.

LeBron James had never crossed that threshold of success because he was mentally incapable of victory.

Trolling through past instances in which his character and decision-making skills were more than a bit perplexing, fans found a simple solution and justification to predict how his career would end–that is, until he won his first NBA championship.

Jeremy Lin seemed a shoo-in to stick with the New York Knicks. He made them insurmountable dollars as the smart, yet sleek Asian guy who burst onto the scene after an unsuccessful start in the league.

It was an interesting story in the shortened season with a good payoff. Of course, James Dolan would make the decision to keep him on board–that is, until the Knicks refused to match the Houston Rockets’ offer sheet.

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that the league and its players have become as predictable as Michigan weather. There is nothing that makes the NBA more intriguing than having players on hand that are just as confusing as the new CBA will allow them to be.

Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard are two of those players. They draw so much attention because of their potential and the complicated nature of figuring out exactly where they will finish.

Dwight Howard has become an enigma to the league, testing the IQs and patience of every fan following free agency and trade talks. In his defense, Howard has no ceiling.

There is no height that can adequately relay where he will land in the ranks of the all-time great centers of the league’s past.

That’s something that fans can’t form a hypothesis for because no one knows where he will be playing in the 2012-13 NBA season.

It has most recently been reported, according to Sports Illustrated, that Howard would sign an extension with the Los Angeles Lakers if he were traded to the California franchise. No one’s excited by the revelation just yet.

Howard has taken the joy out of the declaration with all of his flip-flops over the last two seasons. No one can trust a single word he says, even after he’s signed on the dotted line. The only prediction that can be made about Howard’s future at this particular juncture is that it doesn’t involve the Orlando Magic.

It would be a shame to see a 6’11, 265 lbs. center minimize his worth due to his ignorance or selfishness. If Howard keeps on the same path, he will see fellow superstars continue to max out as he clusters directly above being a superstar and directly beneath being a pivotal difference maker.

He’s young so there is time for him to revise his approach, but until this most annoying saga ends, fans will grow tiresome of waiting for an answer. Dwight Howard is still the best in the league, present-day, at his position while Jeremy Lin had the aura of an elite guard without having the seasoned skill of one.

Fans boosted him far before his time and the Knicks’ willingness to let him go has exposed something about the Asian sensation that was missed during “Linsanity” that further complicates his potential as a player.

Lin is a great story, but is not the perpetual talent that the media painted him to be, especially not in the New York Knicks’ system. During an argument with someone still firmly planted in the “Linsanity” era, one may hear the argument of how many points Lin is prone to scoring at the drop of a dime as a testament to how amazing a talent he is.

That would be great, if the Knicks were looking to employ a combo guard, which they were not. New York was burning hole in their pockets by paying off so many athletes that required so much time with the ball in their hands and Lin, as their point, was one of their primary offenders.

Does it mean that he can’t learn to become a better floor general? No.

However, seeing completely separate avenues of his game does leave a lot of people, including basketball executives, confused. Is his lack of movement without the ball in his hands is demonstrative of his lack knowledge or has he tapped out his potential already?

Lin is not an elite point guard and the Houston Rockets tossing him a ridiculous three-year, $25.1 million deal only further blurs how far he has come and how far he will go in the league. While in New York, with the Knicks heaviest hitter on the sidelines, Lin ran the show.

He was the primary ball-handler, as well as the primary scorer on multiple occasions, putting together a pretty seven-game winning streak that started the outrageous “Linsanity” timetable. In that time, however, there were also some huge flaws in his game, such as the absence of strong left and his turnovers.

His aggressive nature during a game will make someone forget all about the fact that the ball keeps flying out of his hands, but it is a negative of his game that keeps him from being considered a top point guard in the league.

Lin’s marketing value is another prospect that blurs the perception of how valuable he is on the court. After such a short moment of greatness in the league, the publicity that he draws is almost unmatchable which probably plays in Houston’s recruitment of the star.

The Rockets are irrelevant right now and bringing Lin into the fold adds plenty notoriety and attention. Still, the jury will be out for a while concerning whether or not Lin has what it takes to be the guiding light of a franchise for entire seasons, not just a week or two.

All of the elements that surround his rise to stardom confuse the perception of his worth and its true value.

The 2012-13 NBA season will be a landmark of the rest of both of these players’ careers and it remains unpredictable as to which direction either will go.

The confusion surrounding their potential is massive, but it adds to the great, and sometimes tiring, stories that have already been scripted about both.

While Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard’s stories to this point have been the furthest from identical, they are reaching a crossroads in their careers that may essentially determine how it all will end.