Countdown to 2013 King of Content: 4. Dwight Howard
Howard was deserving of a lot of attention in Houston this past summer.
Photo by Jeff Balke
The reconstruction of the Rockets from the wake of the Yao Ming's Feet Era is still not totally complete. With Omer Asik's remaining a Rocket (which I would prefer he do, by the way), the chances for at least one more move by Daryl Morey are high.
I mean, it's Morey. He's addicted to moves. (Trust me, I'm the commissioner of a fantasy football league he's in. He is addicted to moves.)
But the rebuilding is virtually complete, like one of those luxury hotels that's ok to begin staying in, they just haven't finished off the decor in the ballrooms yet. Trust me, this is a great place to be for Rocket fans, considering that for the last three years, the framing for the luxury hotel just sat there, and sat there, and sat there, with a lot of workers moving a lot of lumber and girders, but no real visible building going on.
Among many things, though, Daryl Morey is patient (and thankfully for Morey, so is owner Les Alexander), and his patience paid off this summer when Dwight Howard chose to become a Houston Rocket.
For the last three years B.H. ("Before Harden trade"), this team had been in lottery limbo, nestled snugly into the ninth spot in the Western Conference, seemingly destined to draft that season's Marcus Morris then go win their 42 games from now until the end of time.
It wasn't for a lack of transactions. As noted earlier, Daryl Morey did plenty of dealing. Hell, if trades came in powder form, Morey would have been snorting them. And he won more deals than he lost, a lot more. But they were wins in the same vein that a ground ball base hit is a "win" against a pitcher. No deal singularly foundation changing.
They were all moves designed to eventually make a bigger move.
Then finally, the dam broke, and a big move came. Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti inexplicably felt compelled to get 40 cents back on the dollar for James Harden, and before Presti could presumably sober up, Morey closed the deal and had a budding All-Star at the two guard position. Finally, a superstar player was a Rocket once again.
But then, the next summer, came the heavy lifting.
Clearing out the cap space and making it a fiscally functional possibility that Howard become a Rocket wasn't an issue. That was the easy part. The hard part would presumably be convincing the man child (who'd been much more child than man the last couple seasons) that Houston was the best place for him to chase titles.
As it turned out, what was seen initially as the death blow for the Rockets' hopes of luring Howard, the trade of Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the 2012-13 season, turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Conventional wisdom said that Howard would join Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash, plow through the league, learn how to be a champion, and become the next in the long line of great Lakers. On paper, it appeared logical.
What happened was almost the polar opposite.
Howard's back was still recovering from disk surgery, he took half a season to round into form, his sometimes childish personality clashed with Kobe Bryant's headstrong, business-always personality, head coach Mike D'Antoni's system was a poor fit, and the season ended with Howard ejected from the final game of a first round sweep at the hands of the Spurs.
Dwight Howard's one season Laker stint was a disaster in every way. When it became apparent that the Lakers were not going to part ways with D'Antoni or Bryant, and when the Rockets basically flew out the equivalent of their team's Hall of Fame to woo Howard in Los Angeles, his choice became obvious, and his self awareness seemed to increase.
Now, Howard is in a city that has embraced him with a team that is poised for prominence over the next four to five years. Howard is playing at an MVP level once again, happy to be here, not looking back.
Dwight Howard garnered nine posts, most of them in that ten day period of courtship to signing, good enough for number four on the countdown to King of Content 2013. Here are those posts:
July 2, 2013: Dwight Watch 2013: Kolache Factory Ups the Ante for Dwight Howard July 8, 2013: Sorry Lakers, Dwight Howard Just Wasn't That Into You July 9, 2013: Ice Cube Bids Farewell to Dwight Howard in an F-Bomb Laced Tirade (w/ VIDEO) July 10, 2013: Dwight Howard Buys Lunch for the Entire Breakfast Klub July 15, 2013: Get Your Week Started Off Right! Dwight Howard Rally POV Instagram Video! August 8, 2013: Zapruder Analysis Of The Dallas Mavericks' Recruiting Video For Dwight Howard August 12, 2013: Dwight Howard's Instagram Account Is The Bizarro Johnny Football Account October 17, 2013: Zapruder Analysis of Dwight Howard's Analysis of His New Teammates December 23, 2013: Dwight Howard's Early Christmas Present: An MVP Level Performance In Detroit
PREVIOUS COUNTDOWN POSTS:
Starting January 3, 2014, listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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