Praise, and an appraisal, for Dwight Howard
Rob Mahoney of ProBasketballTalk chimes in on the argument that, despite not being the favorite to win the MVP award, Dwight Howard deserves to be in the discussion.
Dwight Howard is, without a doubt, the most dominant defender in the NBA today. He alters the game in ways both direct and indirect on a play-by-play basis, and he has such defensive presence that teams simply must account for him at all times. One of the calling cards of efficient offenses is scoring in the paint, but when a giant with rocket boots that can bench press a school bus and has an almost ideal level of athletic coordination is standing in your way? Well, that task is a bit more difficult.
The scariest thing of all, though, is that Dwight hasn't maxed out on his defensive potential. He can still improve his footwork, his perimeter skills, his judgment. He's sniffing greatness as a defensive monster, and he's only getting started. That's frightening. [...]
I'm not convinced that LeBron's impact on the court is so far and above Dwight's that they aren't even in the same league. Far from it. James is the indisputable '09-'10 MVP in my eyes, but that doesn't mean Howard isn't important, or great, or dominant. It just means that at this stage, LeBron is better. What's important for Dwight is not that he's the best player in basketball today, but simply that he's making the best of his own unique talents. That's what's going to win games (and playoff series') for the Magic, and that's what, when all is said and done, will finally earn Dwight the praise he deserves.
Create-a-Five: Building the Perfect NBA Center
Austin Burton of Dime Magazine asks you to build the perfect center.
Even as the game evolves and perimeter players rule in 2010, centers are still vital to building a winning team. It can be a traditional textbook guy like Tim Duncan (for all intents and purposes, a center), an athletic freak like Dwight, an outside threat like Mehmet Okur, or a defensive specialist like Ben Wallace.
Magic need a young PG: How about Collison?
Brian Schmitz suggests that general manager Otis Smith should try to acquire rookie point guard Darren Collison from the New Orleans Hornets in the off-season.
More after the jump.
Analyzing the Analysts
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus analyzes the broadcasters in the NBA, both nationally and locally. Well-deserved praise for Matt Guokas and David Steele.
Orlando's duo of David Steele and Matt Guokas is notable as the league's broadcast most likely to reference advanced statistics or offer a shoutout to the blogosphere.
1. Second Trimester Report
UPDATE: The support for Howard grows in his quest to repeat as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Howard is leading the league in rebounding and blocked shots for the second straight season and has Orlando perched in the top three in defensive efficiency, even though he's routinely flanked by non-defenders like Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis.
You'll recall that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1975-76), Bill Walton (1976-77), Hakeem Olajuwon (1989-90) and Ben Wallace (2001-02) are the only other players in history to lead the league in both categories in the same season ... but Howard is on course to be the first player to do it twice after joining that exclusive club last season.
Let's face it: This is Dwight's domain. Again.