A night that started out with Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard receiving his championship ring ended with him being sent home early! Howard was awarded his championship ring from the Los Angeles Lakers title run of last season along with fellow teammate Danny Green. Howard was all smiles after finally achieving a title goal that has taken 17 years.
However, the smiles quickly turned to anger. A little more than an hour later, Howard was ejected from the game against his former team after having two scrums with new Laker center Montrezl Harrell (espn.com). Howard being ejected on what was supposed to be a thrillful night is somewhat symbolic of his up and down NBA career.
A Closer Look at the Career of Dwight Howard
The 6-10 265 pound center first broke into the NBA after making a decision to turn pro right after high school in 2004. The Orlando Magic made Howard the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. Howard lived up to the hype by making the NBA All-Rookie team after his first pro season.
The Atlanta Georgia native’s career started a meteoric rise in the 2006-07 season when Howard was selected to his first of 8 straight All Star teams. Howard has always been an above average scorer down low, but the big man’s main gift is the art of rebounding. In fact, Howard has led the NBA in rebounds per game a total of five different times (basketball-reference.com). Also, Howard ranks first on the NBA active player list for rebounds and blocked shots.
Howard spent eight seasons with the Orlando Magic but was traded to Los Angeles for his first stint with the Lakers in 2012. Howard has bounced around ever since by playing for a total of seven different NBA teams.
Is Howard a future Hall of Famer?
Howard will more than likely make the Basketball Hall of Fame because he has put up great numbers over a lengthy career. The fact that Howard has averaged a double-double for his career with 16 points per game and 12 rebounds per contest is highly impressive. Helping LeBron and the Lakers win an NBA title also helps Howard’s Hall of Fame chances.
A few basketball insiders predict that Howard’s Hall of Fame chances are over 90%. Though he has never won an MVP Award, Howard has finished in the top 10 for the award in five different seasons. Howard ranks 5th on the NBA’s all-time defensive rebounds list with over 10,000!
Can Howard help the Sixers win the title this season?
That is a tough question to answer because so much of the Sixers championship hopes are pinned on how quickly Joel Embiid can recover from his leg injury. If Embiid can fully heal and Howard can start giving him some restful minutes each game, the Sixers could very well face the Lakers in the NBA Finals in a few months. However, Howard cannot keep getting thrown out of games because of his quick temper.