Washington Wizards: Breaking Down Small Forward Josh Howard's Game

Michael MohajeriContributor IOctober 15, 2010

Josh Howard drives in for a lay-up.
Josh Howard drives in for a lay-up.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Over the next two weeks, I will be breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the Washington Wizards' players. So far, I have evaluated Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee's. Today's breakdown is Josh Howard.

Josh Howard is a 6'7" small forward, weighing in at 210 pounds. He is 30 years of age and is coming off of surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, which he tore in February. He is a former All-Star in Dallas and was traded this past season to the Washington Wizards. According to reports, his rehabilitation has been going well and he should be ready to play sometime in November, maybe ahead of schedule.

Josh Howard's career averages are 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.6 blocks per game. In his All-Star year, 2006-07, he averaged 18.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Once he is returns from his injury, there is no reason his numbers shouldn't approach his career averages.

Josh Howard is an excellent all-around defender, can score in bunches, slashes hard to the basket, moves well with or without the ball, has a very good mid-range game and can run the fast break. Howard can shoot the three, but is only a career 33% shooter from that range. He has the ability to spark the offense and is excellent at going one-on-one against his defender. Before his injury, he was athletic and, at times, explosive. Hopefully his injury will not take away from those aspects of his game.

Josh Howard has played some at the shooting guard position, but he doesn't have the body to spend much time at the power forward position. Josh Howard's game doesn't have many weaknesses, however, his decision making has been called into question at times. He admitted to recreational use of marijuana in the spring of 2008. He did state that he does not smoke it during the season, but the admission in itself brought a lot of criticism from the media. Even though he was being honest, this is not what you want to hear from sports role models. As long as he isn't letting his off season choices become a part of his regular season routine, he won't find himself in any more hot water.

If Josh Howard can regain his explosiveness and quickness, after going through rehabilitation, he should return to the starting small forward spot in Flip Saunders' line-up. His veteran leadership, NBA Finals experience and age, will help the rest of the Wizard's players understand how to play better when the pressure is on. Howard's game will compliment the athletic, up-and-down the court style of John Wall and Gilbert Arenas. His ability to get open in the half-court offense will be of great assistance to John Wall's assist totals, and if Howard can stay on the court for 35 minutes a night, he should be able to put up solid numbers this season.