San Antonio Spurs: 10 Reasons Dwight Howard Would Be a Good Fit in San Antonio
Imagine if you took San Antonio, now 57-13 on the season, and added superstar center Dwight Howard to the mix. Now that would be a scary sight.
This past offseason, nearly all of the attention around the NBA revolved around the top teams in the Eastern Conference, especially the Miami Heat, as well as the back-to-back champion Los Angeles Lakers.
However, a combination of the big three, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, all being able to stay healthy for the first time in several years, to go along with great bench play and three-point shooting, has the Spurs playing as well this season as they have at any time since Duncan was drafted in 1997.
Of course, the Spurs are getting older and cannot simply maintain their roster in order to contend. They must continue to build on it.
If San Antonio can find a way to acquire Dwight Howard, who is still just 25 years old, the Spurs would almost certainly remain in contention for the better part of this decade.
Here are 10 reasons.
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The Spurs don't have many skilled big men on their roster.
Although Duncan can still be effective, he is no longer the player he once was. Meanwhile, DeJuan Blair has done an excellent job off the bench, but he is undersized for the center position.
In order for San Antonio to compete against the three-time reigning Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers, they need another big man who can match up against Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol.
9. Ability to Get to the Line
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In an attempt to stop Howard, opponents have fouled him this season at an astonishing rate.
Howard, who has already led the league in free-throw attempts twice in his career, is on pace to be the first player in 10 years to attempt 900 free throws in a season.
To give you an idea of how high of a number that is, the Spurs don't have a player on pace to attempt as many as 500 free throws this season.
Howard's ability to get to the line not only adds to his scoring numbers, but it also eats up fouls from opposing players.
Currently, the only San Antonio players averaging as many as six rebounds per game are Tim Duncan (9.0) and DeJuan Blair (7.1).
Howard, on the other hand, is averaging 14.2 rebounds per game this season (second in the league), and he has already led the league in rebounding five times.
It can be extremely difficult for opposing players to box him out, making Howard an almost automatic double-double threat on a given night.
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Despite all of the physical abuse that Howard takes on a gamely basis, he has been able to stay consistently healthy.
Howard has missed just seven games in his entire career, and he is able to eat up a lot of minutes, currently averaging 37.4 minutes per game this season.
San Antonio has suffered key injuries in recent years and would benefit greatly from a reliable, non-injury prone star.
6. Locker Room Presence
Despite his competitive nature, Howard brings a fun, upbeat personality everywhere he goes.
San Antonio has maintained a professional work environment over the years, but Howard would add positive energy and help build team chemistry in the locker room.
Since being drafted in 2005, Howard has been kind to the media and even does rather impressive impressions of teammates and coaches.
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During the past offseason, Howard worked with NBA Hall-of-Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon on his post mechanics. This has clearly paid off, as Howard has shown improved foot work and a greater array of post moves since the start of the season, enabling him to take his offensive game to the next level.
Howard is averaging a career-high 23 points per game this season, 4.5 more points than he averaged last season.
Although Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and McDyess all have a lot of experience playing deep in the postseason, many other Spurs do not.
Howard is a major reason that Orlando has been to the Eastern Conference Finals in each of the last two seasons. In the last three years alone, he has played in 47 playoff games.
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When a player ranks among the league leaders in six different major statistical categories, the odds are that the player is extremely efficient.
Howard currently has the second highest player-efficiency rating in the NBA. With a 59.7 shooting percentage from the floor, Howard also ranks second in the league in field-goal percentage.
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Although Antonio McDyess and Matt Bonner have each done a solid job defending opposing centers, neither player is nearly as imposing under the basket as Dwight Howard.
With his 6'11", 265-pound frame, Howard is quite a presence down low. Last season, he earned his second-consecutive Defensive Player of the Year Award, and he may very well be on his way to a third this season.
Howard’s size and athleticism make him nearly impossible to score against. He is averaging 2.4 blocks per game this season, good for second in the NBA, and he has led the league in blocks three times in his career.
1. He Makes His Teammates Better
No team in the NBA bases its style of play more around a single player than the Orlando Magic do with Howard.
Because Howard is consistently double-and-triple teamed, perimeter players are able to frequently get wide-open looks. Orlando currently leads the league in three-pointers made for the fourth consecutive year as a result.
For San Antonio, which currently ranks fifth in three-pointers made this season, the luxury of Howard at center would only enable players like Richard Jefferson, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and Ginobili to nail even more triples.