Dwight Howard has talked about wanting to rewrite the final chapters of his career, and that the off-season trade to Charlotte was his opportunity to do that. He wants to change the perception of himself as a poor teammate and not a weak leader (and his need to please which leads to some odd choices off the court.
This is not going to help with that.
On his latest Podcast, ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe said he said heard stories of:
“Hawks players learning about the trade and screaming with jubilation into their phones…
“You ask why, and one account was that Dwight would give these speeches before the game about how everyone is playing hard, we want unity, we’re going to… and then go out and play like a blah game where he demands post touches and doesn’t rotate as hard as he could. And everyone is like, ‘Why are you speaking in the locker room?’ But that’s all anecdotal. It’s just crazy how these stories come out after every stop in his career.”
(Hat tip to Dime Magazine‘s Jamie Cooper for finding that.)
Maybe Hornets coach Steve Clifford can help Howard — get him out of the post and in the pick-and-roll, get him quarterbacking a defense, getting him to pick his spots to comment to teammates. Howard has reportedly trimmed his entourage down and is more focused. We’ll see.
Howard needs to lead by actions, not words.
Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and plenty of other leaders barked at teammates, or tried to inspire them, but then they went out and walked the walk. In few aspects of his NBA career during the last handful of years (since leaving Orlando) has Howard backed up his words. Maybe he will now, he will make Charlotte better and a playoff team this season, but at this point I need to see it. Talk isn’t enough.