Dwight Howard: Lakers Center's Supposed Loss of Explosiveness Is Overblown

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles during a timeout in the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on December 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 104-87.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

There's been a lot of talk surrounding Dwight Howard's supposed loss of explosiveness since his former coach, Stan Van Gundy, said as much.

The former head coach of the Orlando Magic told the Los Angeles Times on Friday:

I don't think he looks quite as explosive or as quick as he has in the past. Now, he's still above almost everyone in the league at that size athletically, but he has not totally looked like himself to me.

But it's not Van Gundy's first sentence that we should focus on. The key words are "he's still above almost everyone in the league at that size athletically."

I would agree with Van Gundy that Howard appears to have lost some explosiveness and quickness after undergoing back surgery in April. But while Howard may not be the athletic freak he once was, he's still an athletic freak. That's the point.

On top of that, Howard hasn't solely relied on his explosiveness throughout his career. You don't dominate the way he has on both sides of the floor without having a strong understanding and great feel for the game.

The fact of the matter is, Howard is still one of the game's best centers, if not the best. He's averaging 17.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 57 percent from the field. Most recently, he posted 21 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in the Lakers' 104-87 dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

Every player eventually wears down and loses his explosiveness as he ages. This may be sooner than expected for Howard, but he still can out-muscle most centers in the league and he's still producing at a high level.

Van Gundy's comments have created a firestorm around Howard (as always), but, in the end, the whole ordeal is overblown and not that significant.


What are your thoughts?

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