I'm not sure I'm prepared for another summer filled with ever-changing Dwight Howard rumors, but if the end result is him donning a Houston Rockets jersey, it'll be worth it.
According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the polarizing center plans to "explore his options" once he hits free agency on July 1. Among re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, he is reportedly intrigued with the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets:
CBS Sports @CBSSports
Texas is about to have a Dwightmare. Houston and Dallas are two teams Dwight Howard could be interested in. http://t.co/9JraQdAcAM2013-5-19 22:59:11
Well, consider me intrigued that he's intrigued with the Rockets.
Just imagine Kevin McHale trotting out the following starting lineup on a nightly basis, and try not to get giddy with excitement:
Not matter whose team's bandwagon you currently ride, it's impossible to admit that wouldn't be at least entertaining to watch.
How could it not be with two dominant centers down low?
There are obviously limitations—most notably offensively—to playing both Howard and Omer Asik at the same time. Neither can score away from the basket:
But consider Houston's offensive arsenal and style of attack.
James Harden is one of the most dangerous playmaking scorers in the league. Chandler Parsons is a deadly shooter with a burgeoning all-around game. Jeremy Lin obviously struggled down the stretch and in the postseason, but he's a capable scorer and distributor. Even if his problems persist, Patrick Beverley showed loads of potential as a backup and Harden tends to control the ball, anyways.
Throw in Houston's propensity to play the fastest pace in the league, and scoring won't exactly be a problem.
But that's nothing new. The Rockets, with an offensive rating of 106.7, were one of the most efficient squads in the Association this season. Their eventual downfall, however, came on defense, where they ranked 17th in defensive rating.
With the addition of Howard, no one would score inside consistently against the Rockets.
The big man is undoubtedly one of the best interior defenders in the league—whether you look at basic stats (2.5 blocks per contest) or advanced ones:
Not only did he hold centers to a mediocre PER of 15.0, but when Howard was on the court, the Lakers gave up just 105.9 points per 100 possessions. When he was on the bench, they gave up 111.0.
Asik, another elite defender, had similarly impressive numbers.
So, in the end, you would be taking a team that thrives on fast breaks and offensive superiority, and giving it an atypical defensive center-center combo that the league hasn't seen in a long time.
In all honesty, it's unclear if a lineup that would actually gel together efficiently, but combining Harden's offense with Howard's defense would give the Rockets some unique versatility and a championship-caliber roster.
And no matter what happens, it would be fascinating and compelling to see how it plays out.