Is Howard annoyed at losing his starting spot to the likes of forwards Kevin Love and Blake Griffin? Not if you ask Howard himself.
Per Rockets.com and Rockets.com reporter Jason Friedman:
Howard says he of course would have liked to be named an All-Star starter, but that he's happy for the guys who were named instead.— Jason Friedman (@JasonCFriedman) January 24, 2014
D12 on not being named All-Star starter: "I didn't come to Houston to be a starter in the All-Star game. I came here to win a championship"— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 24, 2014
Good for him. Howard has, in the past, gotten way too caught up in his own popularity. And in a country where we don't want our stars to seem too needy, Howard's "please look at me" attitude has often turned fans off.
This time, however, Howard gave the proper, generic answer: "I came here to win a championship." This is one case where a bland, boring answer is actually a sign of maturity.
Howard came in fourth in the final tally for the three Western Conference forward positions. Under the old voting rules, in which voters chose a center and two forwards, Howard would have been named a starter.
But Howard was chosen to the starting squad last season, the first year of the three-forward, two-guard voting system.
NBA.com's Jeff Caplan noticed the precipitous drop in Howard's voting numbers since 2009, when Howard was the NBA's top overall vote-getter. According to Caplan, Howard has lost votes in each subsequent year, bottoming with 653,318 this year.
But should the real story here be the decline of Dwight Howard, or the rise of the center/forward position in the Western Conference? According to Basketball Reference, Howard ranks eighth in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) among Western Conference forwards and centers, behind Kevin Durant, Love, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and Griffin.
Perhaps NBA fans are voting for other players not out of spite for Howard, but because they think other players are more worthy?