Is Dwight Howard really Orlando's Leader?
Dwight said he is the leader of the Orlando Magic. He has said this a dozen more times before but I question that he is the leader of the Magic.
While I do agree that he is undoubtedly the team's franchise player, I don't see him to be the team's leader. Why? Here are the reasons:
1) Leader's are the team's Go-To-Guy in the Clutch
Bill Russell, Jerry West, Magic, Bird, Jordan, Duncan, Kobe, and LeBron. These aforementioned names are legends and have the ball on the clutch. They are depended on to score or make the right pass. They lead their team to victory.
Dwight? No way. All he does in the clutch is set the screen for Turkoglu and get the defense's attention so Turk can make the shot or the right pass. This just goes to show how limited his post moves are that he is not trusted with the ball with the game on the line even though he is NOW making his free throws.
2) Leader's know the Team's System and is the Team's Vocal Leader
Before Jameer Nelson went down with an injury, he was undoubtedly the team's leader. Why? Because he knows the intricacies of SVG's system and can point out where a teammate should be when they make a play. You might point out that it is the responsibility of point guards to KNOW such but it is not only on the offensive end that a leader shows his worth.
What then should Dwight do to improve?
1) Learn more from assistant coach Ewing. He needs to learn more post moves and stop depending on his great athleticism. (Side note: I was surprised he didn't mention Olajuwon on the big men he looks up to. He only mentioned Russell, Wilt, and Ewing)
2) Learn the team's system more. Learn more from SVG and Turk and the point guards. There are definitely holes in the system that they can improve on offensively and defensively. He has to take a pro-active stand and suggest what they can do better. There offense is too predictable for them to win a championship. (Good thing the Magic won at least one game in the finals. He now has a one-up on egocentric Shaq.)
I liked Dwight's acceptance to be a decoy on some of the Magic's crucial games to free up their shooters. This season he has developed that rolling hook and is also recently been hitting those free throws with consistency.
He is still a sponge that can absorb more lessons. He has to be humble and listen to the elder statesmen of the league other than Shaq to be better.
And maybe then he can be that dominant center that he says he is. Not yet Dwight, not yet.