Dwight Howard : Can I Get Some Respect Please ?

Marcus TalleyContributor IJuly 21, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 26:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 26, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

So what phrase do we commonly hear in sports when relating to winning a championship ? The phrase is defense wins championships. With that in mind, you would think that a player who just won back-to-back DPOY and is the first player to lead the league in rebounds and blocks in back-to-back years would get much more respect than he currently does, but yet some how he doesn't. The thing with Dwight Howard is that everyone seems to focus on the negative with him. He's overrated, he dosen't make his teammates better, and he's not as good as Lebron, Wade, Kobe, Carmelo, and etc. I challenge all these arguments.

Opponents against Dwight Howard constantly say he's overrated, that he is just big, strong, tall, and athletic and has no real skill set. I agree with you. My argument for this is so is Lebron James. Its just that Dwight uses his natural physical gifts on defense, while Lebron uses his on offense. Think about for a second. Everything Lebron does on offense, Howard does on defense and both of what they do has never been done before in the NBA. The only difference is people would rather see a highlight reel dunk, pass, or drive to the hole rather than seeing a great help defensive play, block, or a shot altering maneuver by Dwight. Also for the record, this man has averaged nearly 21ppg on 58 fg% on a 3-point shooting team the last two years. Without a doubt I believe he could get to 25ppg if the team decided to get a traditional PF, move Rashard to SF and play more of a half-court style.

The second point of criticism against Dwight Howard is that he doesn't make his teammates better. That is complete BS. Dwight might be the only guy in the league who actually makes his teammates better offensively and defensively. Offensively, Dwight gets his teammates open shots because he commands so much attention in the paint. As I said earlier, he's so much bigger, stronger, and faster that if he is being guarded with single coverage, most likely he'll score. Because of this, teams double him, he kicks it out to Nelson, Carter, Lewis, or Riddick and a wide open 3-pt shot occurs. Defensively he makes them a whole lot better. Look at the above players I just mention. To be frank about it, they all suck in man-to-man defense and help defense with the exception of Nelson.If Howard wasn't back there protecting the rim, those players would get burned every game. But because of Howard , they can play aggressive defense and their opponents think twice about attacking the paint. One stat I'm going to throw out there is that Dwight accounted for 32% of his teams total rebounds. Best in the league.

The last criticism and the most frustrating one for me is that Dwight isn't as good as Lebron, Wade, Kobe, Melo, Bosh, Gasol, CP3, and etc.The fact is that he is just as good as those other players, its just that those players are dynamic on offense and good on defense, while Dwight is vice versa. Bottom line is that people would rather see dynamic offense than dynamic defense. As the saying goes, defense wins championships, offense sells tickets.

I will concede though, that it would be nice if he developed a consistent drop-step or hook shot so he could be unstoppable. I could say the samething about Lebron finding a mid-range game, Wade finding a 3-pt shot, Kobe taking too many shots, or Melo becoming better defensively. All great players past and present have holes in their game, but they shouldn't be penalized for it as much as Dwight has been the last few years. Hopefully after this article, you can give my man Dwight some respect. If you still need more convincing, look at these Hall-of-Fame Center's career average and compare them to Dwights. I'll let you decide who they are.

Dwight Howard: 17.3 ppg 12.8 rbg 2bpg                                                               

Player A: 15.1 ppg 22.5 rpg

Player B: 21.0 ppg 9.8 rpg 2.4 bpg

Placer C: 21.1 ppg 10.6 rpg 3.0 bpg

Player D: 20.3 ppg 12.3 rpg 1.3 bpg