capitals fire

This gentleman goes by the name of Dwight Howard. He is the 7-foot, 275 pound center for the Houston Rockets basketball franchise. He is the most dominating physical specimen we have in professional team sports, yet, he continues to do Dwight Howard things when it matters most.

This postseason, he is averaging…
  • 16.7 Points Per Game
  • 12.8 Rebounds Per Game
  • 2.9 Blocks Per Game
  • 1.3 Steals Per Game (Career High)
  • 1.9 Turnovers Per Game (Career Low)
Those are like … REALLY GOOD STATISTICS! YEAH!

However, this is just step one of getting sucked into the Dwight Howard Vortex of Death — formally knows as a ‘Dwightmare’.

You see, in basketball, stats can be misleading….And in the case of Dwight Howard, they are more times than not.

Let me explain…

Filling up the stat sheet in the NBA can, at times, be the equivalent of showing up to your job, punching the time-clock, submitting satisfactory work, and being an office culture cancer. The catch is: your company is losing money out its ass, but, as an employee — you’re technically not doing anything wrong … you’re just not going above and beyond to help solve the situation. You stay in your own lane, you never dare to show initiative, you provide the bare minimum of what you are compensate for, you go home.

Ladies & Gentlemen: Dwight Howard.

While Dwight’s Points/Rebounds/Blocks per game are certainly nothing to scoff at — the Rockets require more from their max-contract center. He needs to go “above and beyond” for the Houston franchise to have any type of success. This has been the case for every team Dwight has ever been on, and with the exception of the 2008-2009 season where Howard’s Orlando Magic made the NBA Finals — you can argue that he has never once lived up to his “potential” and/or didn’t “just punch the clock”.

Take this year, for example:

Despite recording two career highs during this postseason, Dwight Howard currently has a:
  • 0.3 VORP (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: 2.0, 2004-2005 Season).
  • -1.2 BPM (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: 1.0, 2004-2005 Season).
  • -2.4 OBPM (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: -1.5, 2012-2013 Season).
  • 1.2 DBPM (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: 1.4, 2005-2006 Season).
  • 3.6 WS (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: !!!7.3!!!, 2004-2005 Season).
  • 1.4 OWS (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: 2.8, 2012-2013 Season).
  • 2.2 DWS (Playoff Career Low. Previous Playoff Career Low: 3.5, 2004-2005 Season).
  • 23.3% USG Rating
VORP = Value of Replacement player: a box score estimate of the 100 points per team possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level player, translated to an average team.

BPM = Box Plus/Minus: a box score estimate of the 100 points per possession that a player contributed above a league-average player, translated to an average team.

OBPM = Offensive Box Plus Minus: a box score estimate of the offensive 100 points per possession that a player contributed above a league-average player, translated to an average team.

DBPM = Defensive Box Plus Minus: a box score estimate of the defensive 100 points per possession that a player contributed above a league-average player, translated to an average team.

WS = Win Shares, An estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player 

OWS = Offensive Win Shares, An estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player’s offense

DWS = Defensive Win Shares, An estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player’s defensive

USG = Usage Percentage, An estimate of team plays used used by a player while he was on the floor.

—-

The numbers speak for themselves. Dwight Howard is having a historically-bad playoffs (in re: to Dwight Howard’s standards.) We haven’t seen “impact”/advanced metrics numbers this poor for Dwight SINCE HIS FIRST PLAYOFFS EVER when he was 19 years old in 2004-2005. What makes it even worse is that 23.3% of the time Dwight is on the floor, he is touching the ball and/or involved in the final outcome of the play. Thus, he is not only sucking … ~1 out of every 4 possessions the Rockets have the ball, he is dragging the entire team down with him into his whirlpool of IDGAF and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

No evidence of this more than Sunday night, Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.

Howard fouled out in 18 minutes, scored a whopping seven points, shot one-of-six from the free throw line, and recorded a +/- of -28 … MINUS TWENTY EIGHT!!!!! … in EIGHTEEN minutes of play!! Do you understand how difficult -28 in 18 minutes is to accomplish in today’s NBA? Even the New York Knicks have to at least try to be this futile.

What didn’t pop up in the box score is Dwight’s general awfulness, associated with what feels like 1-out-of-every-2 playoff games Howard shows up for.

Here he is experiencing some playoff-intensity contact, and getting tossed around by DeAndre Jordan like a rag doll…

Which made Dwight whine to the refs and complain like Gloria when Vince Vaughn won’t agree to accompany her family to the vacation home in ‘Wedding Crashers’, like always, subsequently leading to a technical foul and being called a “B*tch” by Matt Barnes.

Which leads to his patented “dirty foul when things are going poorly”…

…and ultimately the ‘Dwightmare’ special: A soft foul call against him (it’s the NBA, it happens to everyone bro) that ultimately leads to his ejection for complaining/condescendingly throwing the ball back to the ref.

And then of course, the world-famous Dwight postgame interview where he just doesn’t say a single word and/or answers open-ended questions with ‘no’.

Good thing there’s no precedence with Dwight re: any of this stuff or anything.

—-

Long story short: You are what you are, Dwight. A perennial superstar who should be the most physically-dominating big man in basketball since Shaquille O’Neal — arguably ever. This is as good of a compliment as you will ever get from me because you are THAT GOOD. The tools, the fundamentals, the athleticism, the physique — it’s all there; anyone who has ever watched basketball can agree that you could single-handily revolutionize the game of basketball with your physicality, and go down in the history books as one of the best players ever…

My question, as it is EVERY year, is: Do you want to?