Does Dwight Howard deserve more touches?

Mar 19, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The 22 million dollar man Dwight Howard has seen a shockingly low usage rate this season. He does not get many touches, relative to his career standard. Most of his points were scored from either occasional pity alley-oops from James Harden or offensive put backs. Is this the true worth of a (former?) superstar?

Let’s put things in perspective, if we look at the field-goal attempt per game stat, Dwight Howard (8.4) is behind James Harden (19.6), Trevor Ariza (10.6), and Michael Beasley (10.4). He ties with Patrick Beverley (8.4) in fourth place.

His total attempts stat is almost tripled by Harden’s (591 to 1590). He keeps a high field-goal percentage (.618), second in the team only behind Montrezl Harrell (.659). He is highest among all the rotational players. Obviously, just look at the number, he deserves more touches of the basketball and more opportunities to score.

Compared to other big men with a similar game. Howard number is still among the best, except for field-goal attempts and, therefore, points (13.7). Only DeAndre Jordan averages fewer attempts (6.6) and points (12.7) with a high percentage (.703), but he’s not even half the offensive player that Howard is. Brook Lopez (15.8), LaMarcus Aldridge (14.1), Andre Drummond (13.1), Hassan Whiteside (9.3), Jonas Valanciunas (8.9), Enes Kanter (8.8) all have higher field-goal attempts per game than Dwight, with the first three in double-digits.

None of them have a higher field-goal percentage than Dwight Howard. Granted if Dwight starts to shoot more often, his FG% might decrease, but I can’t imagine it would be much. If there is any conclusions to draw from these numbers it’s that Dwight Howard is grossly under-used.

The reason for Dwight’s lack of touches is caused by two factors: his potential pending departure and the Houston Rockets’ style of basketball. The first cause could be considered to  be a bit of a puzzle. While Dwight seems to deny it every chance he gets, most people expect him to exercise his player option during the off-season.

It’s hard to say he would want to leave because of the lack of touches or his departure is the due to the low numbers of touches. As far as I can r

Patrick Beverley averages as many shots as Dwight Howard.

emember, Dwight played the whole season with lack of touches. There is a span where he had 10 or more double-doubles in a row, which was disrupted by his injury during a game with the Pistons at Houston. But, other than that, Dwight has been the third or even fourth option on offense for the Rockets. He had more touches last season, especially during the playoffs. Maybe, the cause for his lack of touches is to expedite his departure in which case the Rockets might have known this would be the outcome at the beginning of the season.

But the regular season has concluded. There is no point debating whether Dwight should have more touches now though we should take into consideration the teams that finished ahead of the Rockets. Since the Houston Rockets have made the playoffs and will face the Golden State Warriors it might be to the Rockets benefit to utilize Dwight even if it’s for the last time.

Most of the teams love to play small ball vs. the Warriors. The fact is, they didn’t succeed. If small ball works, the Warriors wouldn’t have broken the 95-96 Bulls record.

Maybe, just maybe, the key to beating the Warriors is not to play their game. Maybe the Rockets need to play big, or at least not play small. Maybe the Rockets need to lower the tempo and force the Warriors into an unfamiliar kind of game.

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There is a huge benefit to having Howard on the floor vs. the Warriors. The Warriors are a high volume shooting team, and so are the Rockets, having Howard on the floor would provide valuable rebounding and rim protection, in the case Stephen Curry decides to drive to the basket.

But, based on what the Warriors did last year, they are not above hacking. If that is started, Howard cannot be on the floor. The same is extended to Capela. If that is the case, the Rockets just have to pray that their other big could do a good job cleaning replacing the rebounding and rim protection.

The Warriors have two good paint defenders: Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, both of them could negate Howard’s average post game.  Considering this plus his free throw liability, it might be in the Rockets’ benefit to not play Dwight a lot, even thought he deserves better.

Maybe, if the Rockets could pull off a miracle, Dwight would have his chance against either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Portland Trail Blazers.

In conclusion, I think even though Dwight deserves more touches because of his production and efficiency, it might not be in the games vs. the Warriors. And that would be sad as it might be the last games he ever plays for the Rockets.

Next: Keys for Rockets vs Warriors

Next: Rockets Round 1 Playoff Schedule

Next: NBA Playoffs: The Ferrell Way

Next: Houston Rockets Conclude Regular Season

Next: Recalling Kobe Bryant’s Greatest Games vs. the Houston Rockets

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