Dwight Howard on All-Star Starter Snub: 'I Came Here to Win a Championship'

Joe FlynnContributor IJanuary 24, 2014

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 22:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets shoots against the Sacramento Kings on January 22, 2014 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is used to starting the NBA All-Star Game, but in 2014 he will likely have to start the game on the bench.

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:

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?