Dwight Howard's Trainer: C Wants to 'Evolve Into' Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2018

Washington Wizards recently acquired center Dwight Howard poses for a photo during a news conference in Washington, Monday, July 23, 2018. Howard, an eight-time All-Star, averaged 16.6 points per game and 12.5 rebounds last season with the Charlotte Hornets. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard isn't planning on retiring any time soon.

According to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post, the 14-year NBA veteran told his trainer, Ed Downs, last year that he wants to play until he's 40 years old.

In order to accomplish that goal, Howard's other trainer, Justin Zormelo, said Howard has some grand plans: "He wants to evolve into [New Orleans Pelicans power forward] Anthony Davis, into [Golden State Warriors small forward] Kevin Durant, but his own version of that."

Howard, who turns 33 in December, is set to enter his first season with the Wiz after getting bought out by the Brooklyn Nets following a trade from the Charlotte Hornets.

Zormelo said he worked to expand Howard's game entering last season: "I had to figure out how to change his game into what today's style of play was. We added ball-handling, we added shooting. Just a completely different mindset than he's used to playing [with]. I was able to figure out how to add different skills to Dwight, and he adapts pretty quickly."

The 265-pound Howard also lost 23 pounds between the end of the 2016-17 season and the start of 2017-18. 

The result was an uptick in production, as Howard averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game with the Hornets. His scoring average was his highest since putting up 18.3 per contest in 2013-14 with the Houston Rockets.

Howard also expanded his range a bit and shot 57.4 percent from the free-throw line, which was his best percentage since 2010-11 with the Orlando Magic.

The veteran is an eight-time All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year who figures to be an ideal complement to the dynamic Washington backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Although it is unlikely that Howard will ever come close to Davis or Durant in terms of their ball-handling or shooting, his willingness to operate more out of the paint should make him a more complete and dangerous player.