Dwight Howard says he needs to be selfish and demand the ball more often
With the Houston Rockets down 1-0 after dropping Game 1 at home in its Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Portland Trail Blazers, Dwight Howard apparently took a long look at himself and came to the conclusion, “You know what? I need to be more selfish.”
The Rockets center said on Tuesday that heading into Wednesday’s game that he has realized that he needs to demand the ball more in the paint in order to make it more difficult on the Blazers.
“We have to play inside out, play their bigs and make it a long night for those guys,” Howard said., via Ultimate Rockets. “I have to demand the ball, get it and go to work.”
Howard contended that being a more integral presence on the offensive end may help in slowing down LaMarcus Aldridge, who dominated in Portland’s 122-120 overtime win on Sunday, scoring 46 points.
“We have to go right back at him,” he said. “You have to make him play defense and make him use his energy on defense. Make him have to run around and guard.”
The stats, however, don’t necessarily justify Howard’s insistence that he needs more looks. He had an abysmal shooting night on Sunday, going only 9-of-21 from the field after starting the game 1-for-6.
If Howard intended to utilize his proposed additional touches to play facilitator and allow the offense to run through him is one thing, but his comments seem to indicate that he plans to shoot first and pass only when necessary.
Further examination of Howard’s stats from Sunday also reveal that having the ball in the center’s hands more if he intends to shoot won’t help, either. Getting the ball in James Harden’s hands as often as possible seems to be the wider — and arguably effective — offensive philosophy.
Eye on Basketball notes that according to Synergy Sports, the Rockets ran 13 post plays for Howard and he managed to score only 10 points during those plays, drawing no fouls in the process.
In other words, Howard is getting the ball plenty and not doing much with it once he has it.
Some may choose to praise Howard for stepping up and seizing control and taking some responsibility with the team. Others, on the other hand, may see this as yet another example of Howard’s selfishness, that is if his conduct off the court while torturing the Orlando Magic organization and its fans a few years back — not to mention his behavior during his brief tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers (both on and off the court) can be classified as selfish. Which it can.