Houston, we have a problem. Dwight Howard and the Rockets are headed for an ugly breakup. It can go down one of two ways: either Howard gets traded before the trade deadline, or he leaves for another team in free agency next year.
The Rockets are already moving on. Clint Capela, who played back-up to Howard last year, has been promoted to the starting role besides the former eight-time All-Star. Capela has seen a steady rise in minutes while Howard is slowly become an afterthought. Howard has sat out numerous fourth quarters this year as the 11-12 Houston Rockets are barely in the playoff picture. Many analysts are already exploring life without Howard.
Howard, the former three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner, was once regarded as the NBA’s best big man and a force to be reckoned with. These days, Howard is nothing more than a serviceable Center – and not considered as elite as the likes of fellow big men Demarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan. As Howard turned 30 on Tuesday, he received a belated greeting-card from Orlando Magic fans, who know him all too well.
“We watched you grow up,
From skinny teenager to man of muscle.
You were our Superman,
Orlando’s Bill Russell.
“But at age 30, your skills have diminished,
And your reputation has been degraded.
The Orlando Magic are on the rise,
While your star has faded.”
Howard is averaging 13.3 points, 12.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks from 16 games this year. The Rockets have not had Howard on the floor for 7 games. This is the same Howard who didn’t miss a solitary game for the Orlando Magic in his first four seasons – between 2004-05 and 2007-08. Last year, Howard played only 41 games and had career-low numbers.