This past season, Dwight Howard got 297 shots out of post ups, a little over four times a game. He shot just 47 percent on those and scored at an average of 0.82 points per possessions, well below the 1.06 100 the Rockets averaged overall on offense.
Howard has never been a great post-up player, but he used to be more of a threat down there. Those days are gone if you ask former Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale, who was on SiriusXM NBA Radio Friday with Rick Mahorn and Jonathan Hood.
“Throw it down to him occasionally but if you throw it down to him on a steady diet the poor guy just can’t get down low and move any more. I think that back bothered him, his hips are tight from that and he just wasn’t the same player. He’s worked hard on it. The kid does work hard on his physical conditioning and trying to get healthy and stuff. But he is not what he used to be down there in the low post. And I think the knee surgery, too.”
Injuries have robbed Howard of some of the explosiveness we remember from his days back in Orlando.
One of the misfires of Howard’s career was his demand to be an old-school post player because that was never his strength. He has always been far more dangerous as the roll man — even this season he shot 63 percent and averaged 1.10 points per possession when he got the ball back as the roll man. Numbers showing him far better on the roll exist for every season of his career. Even today, the threat of him rolling opens things up for the Rockets. But he got the ball just 91 times as the roll man this season, far fewer than in the post. He doesn’t like that roll role. Just ask Mike D’Antoni.
Howard seemed to let Shaq and other old school big men get in his head about what a “true” center was. Howard never played to his strengths enough, and that was mobility. He never had the lower body to be a classic post up center, but he could have thrived in a more hybrid, mobile role. But it’s not like he’s going to change