Powerful force inside can’t mask veteran center’s limited skills elsewhere on the court.
How can we not laugh?
In the history of free agency, few players who have the “star” label attached to their names have been as limited as Howard. Despite the “Superman” image he projects, despite all the muscle and inside power he brings to the floor, Howard has few of the skills needed to lead a good team to a championship.
To believe otherwise is to either forget his 2012-13 performance with the Los Angeles Lakers or to have not seen one minute of last season. Those are the lone choices.
For if you saw the season, if you watched closely how Howard’s marginal skills on offense slowed the offensive flow of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, you know Howard’s a complementary center, a Bill Cartwright or a Will Perdue on a team built around a Michael Jordan-like talent.
Six teams chased Howard, 27, as if he were the second coming of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell. The fact that Howard is seen as an elite center speaks to the sorry quality of centers in this era of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant.
Just dissect his season with the Lakers. Under coach Mike Brown, whom Mike D’Antoni replaced eight games into last season, Howard never showed he was a difference-maker. Brown, who preached defense first, should have gotten a great deal of value from Howard, but he labored to fit into Brown’s half-court system more than he did in D’Antoni’s run-and-gun.
Though Howard can’t officially sign with the Rockets until July 10, when the salary cap is set, the Rockets will likely pay him $88 million over four years — about $30 million less than what he would have gotten if he’d stayed with the Lakers.
Is that a laughable salary for someone with his shortcomings?
But circuses always make us laugh, especially when the spotlight shines on the clowns.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)