Dwight Howard has been on a downward trajectory for most of the past decade。
He wasn't just a perennial All-Star, at his peak, Howard was considered the league's premier big man。
Much is made of his three Defensive Player of the Year awards but Howard's signature accomplishment remains the Magic's trip to the 2009 NBA Finals,
beating the Celtics and LeBron's Cavaliers along the way。
As recently as last summer, Howard was a laughingstock who, if not for the Lakers, would probably have been out of the league。
Not only did his plodding, post-oriented style make him a dinosaur.
He was also deservedly seen as a locker room cancer, a black hole of undeserved ego who either didn't understand or just didn't care that his behavior affected others.
Nearing the end of the 2019 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers took a risk signing Dwight Howard to a non-guaranteed contract.
Howard has been a canny veteran for the Lakers as JaVale McGee's backup center and an energy guy whose enthusiasm is infectious.
The most important factor in all of this is that Howard has been really good this season。
He and McGee combined have created one of the league's most powerful big men, averaging 14.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 3.2 blocks per game as a tandem.
Those numbers are better than that of Rudy Gobert.
这些数据都比鲁迪·戈伯特的要好。Beyond the success Howard has had, what's undeniable is the fact that he has been one of the most fun players on this team all season。
It's clear he's enjoying the game far more than he has in recent seasons。
"I think a lot of times in the past it wasn't accepted for guys to have fun like this on the court.
But I think what it's showing is just pure joy," Howard said. "For me, this is like my sanctuary.
For artists, they want to show how thankful they are, they make music.
For a basketball player, it's on the court."
Howard has clearly found his love for the sport again and playing good basketball on a championship contender definitely means he likely won't lose that joy.
After over a decade, Howard is reportedly participating in the 2020 NBA Dunk Contest.
Of course, most fans'minds instantly flew to the 2008 event, in which Howard threw on a Superman cape and jammed it home from the free throw line。
Whether he's actually able to do anything interesting at the Dunk Contest next month,
Dwight Howard participating at all certainly makes the event more inherently interesting than it would have been otherwise.
We know that it's impossible for Howard to get back to where he once was. But it feels pretty good to have him back.
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