When the Philadelphia 76ers brought in Dwight Howard, they were expecting a guy who can come in and provide some good backup play behind Joel Embiid. The veteran big man has been around the league for 17 years now and he has kept himself in incredible shape to be able to still contribute on the floor.
Despite his advanced age, he is 35-years old, the big fella has continued to make an impact on the floor. He is averaging 17.5 rebounds per 36 minutes as he has shown that he has not lost much of a step when it comes to rebounding the basketball.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen a 35-year-old, LeBron (James) maybe, jump and run the way, especially a big, most bigs at this point in their careers, their knees are shot,” said coach Doc Rivers. “They can’t run and this guy’s flying up the floor. It’s just amazing. He’s an athletic phenom I’m for sure.”
The only real blemish has been his 15 technical fouls.
“We knew he can rebound, but it’s amazing how dominant he is on the glass,” added Rivers. “For us, we got to take away some of those offensive fouls, some of the turnovers, if we can get that out of his game and obviously the technicals as well. He’s been absolutely fantastic for us overall.”
The impressive part is that he is doing this all while accepting that he is no longer the dominant big man franchise player that he once was. While it has been very difficult for him, he has continued to transition from a franchise guy into a smart role player who understands his place on the team.
“It’s very difficult,” said Howard. “It’s very difficult, but I understand that in order for me to continue to play in this league, I have to learn from those who came before me, and there’s a lot of guys who came before me who did not want to accept having a position to where you’re not getting those shots, you’re not getting the minutes, you’re not getting the touches, and all the things that you were accustomed to getting.”
Howard was in this type of role with the Los Angeles Lakers while winning a title in 2020 and he has still been working through that for Philadelphia.
“I understand the importance of doing that it’s very difficult though, but I want to win,” he added. “This is why I’m here and I want to show these young guys through example that you know you can be at the top, and still have to play a role. You can be the best player on the team and still have to play a role.”
At the end of the day, winning is the most important thing and the Sixers have done a lot of it so far. They have been able to position themselves to make a deep run into the postseason and they will need everybody to contribute to get the job done.
“You can be the 6th man coming off the bench and still be the best that you can do to help the team win,” Howard finished. “I’m here to do whatever it takes, and hopefully, at the end of the year, we’ll all be holding up that trophy.”
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Published: 2021-04-27 15:36:44
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