Dwight Howard sure doesn't look so mean with his warm smiles and playful grins he likes to flash throughout a game. Despite his love for playing the NBA game, Howard seems to have worn out his welcome in the league. In a short period of time, Howard has had run ins with veterans like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and more recently, Kevin Garnett. Despite being a devout Christian who tries his best to set a good example off the court, Howard still manages to be one of the more controversial players in professional basketball on the court.
Big men in the NBA have always seemed to be under more scrutiny because of their size and capability of scoring close to the basket. Howard has been at the center of a storm as his numbers continue to go down and even his grins have started to recede. Gone are the days of "superman" and the shot blocking machine that dominated the landscape when Dwight Howard was a member of the Orlando Magic. It is almost as if Howard's career has suffered after leaving Orlando for more money. Since then, his statistics are not the same and his enemies seem to be much higher in number.
There are many reasons NBA players do not seem to like Dwight Howard. He has that goofy look and yet can flash that conceited chin. He leads the league in potential, but being among the league's leaders in performance now seems to be a thing of the past. Whatever the case, the following are the top 20 reasons why it is easy for other NBA players to hate Dwight Howard. This "hate" might not come out in the press, but these are sure to make compelling cases in a search for the truth.
20 Howard is Immature and Goofy
Much has been said about Dwight Howard's laid back personality and ability to have some fun on the court, but at times it is a little too much. Dwight Howard often shows his emotions on the court and one minute he can be engaged in friendly banter with opponents and the next can act like his lunch money just got stolen. His immaturity shows on his face and with his inability to keep his emotions and feelings to himself.
Howard also has a goofy side to him. He can smile at inappropriate times and laugh when he makes stupid mistakes. His behavior is less of a distraction for teammates and more of a limiting factor in his development. It is one thing to be happy and like what you are doing, but another to act like it is impossible to take things seriously. For many NBA players, especially the great ones, his antics, smiles and goofiness are all ways of disrespecting the game.
19 Howard Should Be More Dominant
Dwight Howard is listed at 6-foot-11 and carries about 275 pounds of pure muscle. He has no problem getting airborne and has the ability to posterize opponents with his thunderous dunks. The biggest issue most players and fans have with Howard is why he can't dominate on a consistent basis. Howard came into the NBA as one of the most impressive physical and athletic players to come along in quite some time with the potential to become great. How he can't be a dominant factor in every game is dumbfounding to not only his coach and teammates, but even to fans of opposing teams.
Howard seems to be a shell of his former self. This has not been lost on many of the players in the league.
18 Howard Lacks Passion
Maybe the whole league took notice when Dwight Howard couldn't seem to play with Kobe Bryant. Kobe is all about passion and his will to win is second to none. Howard seems to lack the inspiration and passion to compete at this level. He seems to finish too many games with plenty of fuel left in the tank, seemingly saving himself for a late night dinner engagement or the locker room shower. This gets noticed by players and fans alike who consider this to be a character flaw.
Add to this his size, potential and talent, and it is easy to see why many of the players who work hard to improve themselves can't seem to stand him.
17 Howard Can't Shoot Free Throws
There have been many big men who have had their problems at the free throw line. Ben Wallace was a great defender, but struggled at the line. Shaquille O'Neal was a proficient scorer, but couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from the charity stripe. Somehow, Howard's struggles at the free throw line seem to be even more bothersome. Many fans and players alike seem to think he is a choke artist. Howard has relatively good form and seems to be more flexible than most big men, but still clanks his free throws.
With Shaq, at least you could count on over 20 points and 12 rebounds per game. Howard's nonchalant manner of combating the use of "hack a Howard" late in games doesn't seem to resonate with NBA players or fans.
16 Howard Can't Pass
Many centers are not known for being terrific passers and Howard is no exception. In Howard's case, he has never even averaged over 2 assists per game in a season. Even Ben Wallace, who touched the ball about half as much as Howard does, averaged 2.4 assists in one of his seasons. It is hard to respect Howard as a teammate when he averages twice as many turnovers as he does assists. Obviously the ball goes in but it seldom comes back out.
Players and fans alike have to wonder if it is selfishness, a vision problem or lack of working on having a more well rounded game. He often acts disgruntled when nobody passes him the ball in the paint, but the turnovers and his weak repertoire of shots makes it harder for his teammates to trust him. This inability to understand this facet of team play, leaves many in the NBA unamused.
15 Howard Whines Too Much
For most of a game, Howard is pretty mellow and tries to have his fun but when things don't go his way he withdraws and becomes a non-factor. He can often be seen whining to the officials, opponents and even teammates. He allows poor play to escalate by placing too much blame on the officials, opponents and teammates. It would be much better if he used these situations as fuel to play better instead of looking outside himself for a scapegoat. It is hard for many NBA players to see such a physically imposing player resort to whining and sulking when the going gets tough. The great ones don't sit around and whine about a teammate's decision or referee's call. They take it out on the opponents instead.
14 Howard Does't Want to Sacrifice Be a Winner
Dwight Howard does not appear to be doing the things necessary to make him a winner. He does not seem to work hard enough on either end of the court, with steals, blocked shots and rebounding all taking a hit along with his scoring average. This season, it is obvious that James Harden wants to better his game and the Rockets have improved considerably on defense. Howard, on the other hand, has seemingly regressed. It has come time to question his commitment and interest in becoming the best. He could be a dominant force in this league, but still seems to lack taking the initiative despite having a clear advantage on the court more often than not.
There is just a question about his spark. He seemed to do wonders by taking an Orlando team to the NBA Finals in 2009, but hasn't seemed to be able to work alongside any other NBA star. He has had scuffles with Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durrant, to name a few, and his character has come under question each time.
13 Howard is Wasting His Talent
Many players in the NBA know that Dwight Howard came into the league with God given talent. He still has amazing raw talent and can score and rebound with the best centers in the paint and low post. That, however, is the extent of his game and he seems to have taken his talent for granted and has lacked the desire to make himself better and become one of the NBA's greats.
This likely polarizes many of the NBA's hard working players. Howard's game seems to be going backwards while his salary continues to be in the top echelon of the league. Having such potential and raw talent, Howard seems to be giving only glimpses of what could be a consistent reality. His size, body and athleticism do not come along often. This likely creates jealousy in the NBA where many players wish they had similar traits and are left to work harder to achieve any worthwhile results.
12 Howard Lacks Toughness
Dwight Howard is kind of like one of those guys who works out daily but can't seem to carry more than two bags of groceries from the car to the house. His body is ripped and he looks to be in good shape, but Howard still plays a little like a man half his size. At this point in time, Bill Lameer had more of an inside presence and some of Vlade Divac's flops had more intensity than Howard and his current style of play. Howard smiles too much, whines even more and often allows the defensive pressure from lesser known big men to take him out of a game.
Howard is not necessarily a push over, but he has a habit of smiling and frowning at times when he should be making up for things that happen on the other side of the floor. His toughness comes more form the expressions on his face and mannerisms on the court, but opponents are still left to wonder how they could get away with dunking over him or even being allowed to box him out for offensive put backs. For having such a physically imposing frame, he seems to have difficulty dominating lesser competition.
11 Howard Has No Shot
Great big men often come into the league with unrefined offensive skills but then develop more of an offensive game. Howard has always relied on follow-up shots, fast break dunks or back door alley oops in the paint. His game has revolved around dunking the basketball and very little else. He can't shoot mid-range shots and hasn't even developed consistent post play, but he has still been recognized as one of the league's most talented centers.
When he does operate in the post, a turnover is more common than a mid-range shot. If Howard is aggressive and takes the ball to the hoop, he can be fouled and is often forced to earn his points at the free throw line. At the line, Howard is inconsistent at best with a 57% career shooting percentage from the charity stripe. He gets paid to dunk and play defense in the paint but really offers little else on the offensive end.
10 Howard is Fake
Dwight Howard is dishonest with himself, players around him and fans throughout the league. For starters, he consistently uses curious smiles and funny faces to hide the fact that he is frustrated that he is not getting the ball or being a bigger part of the game.y.
Howard's play this year with Houston has been like a tease. His numbers are down in just about every statistical category and his willingness to let James Harden be the boss seems less than genuine. He still appears to be hot and cold with teammates and can vacillate from being upbeat to mercurial in an instant on the court. It is just hard for teammates to know if his head is in the game or if he is going to give his all or be a factor come game day.
9 Howard Gets Lost on the Court
The NBA game has changed and many people think that there is less of a demand for a strong inside presence in the game, but Howard does himself no favors by getting lost on the court, especially on the offensive end. He often will demand a pass into the post when his position is not that great and will then get surprised by great entry passes when he is all alone. There are times when he has plenty of openings to get to the offensive glass but will then decide to play with too much finesse. He gets lost when double teamed and can never seem to see where the obvious double team is coming from, leading to countless turnovers. Howard allows himself to get taken out of a game by good defenders or teams that keep him away from the basket, preventing him from getting two foot shots.
This lack of recognition only makes NBA players think he playing with less than 100% intensity.
8 Howard Doesn't Make His Team Better
Dwight Howard doesn't seem to care about making his team better. To start with, Howard averages less than 2 assists per game and has more of an ability to turn over the ball (3.1 turnovers per game) than to get the ball to a teammate leading to a score. The Houston Rockets currently have so many outside shooters to work good with an inside out kind of game, but James Harden is way more of a catalyst of the offense with his drives down the lane. It seems like Howard has been less dominant in the paint and has lost he ability to carry a team even with other starters sitting on the bench.
7 Howard Comes Across as Being Conceited
Howard often comes across as being rather aloof and more or less full of himself. Keep in mind that he reveled in being called "superman" in his days of being a slam dunk champion, but his play has yet to earn similar praise. It is not like Howard thinks he is God's gift to the Earth, but he does have that smirk and the air of being a supreme being. Considering his chiseled body and athletic grace and Howard can't be blamed for caring a little too much about himself. In this regard, many players feel that his inconsistent play doesn't earn him the right to have such a look of indifference and downright arrogance.
Howard is well behaved on the court, but his incredulous looks aimed at officials and air of superiority that he often exudes brings out the best, or worst, in opposing players.
6 Howard Is Not a Leader
Dwight Howard is not much of a leader despite having over 10 years of experience in the league. He still does more things to put attention on himself than other members of his own team. What message does he send when he has untimely technical fouls or wastes time arguing with the officials when the ball is being pushed to the other end of the court? Howard does his best to live a clean and tidy life off the court, but can't seem to go through games unscathed. On the court he is too busy frowning and doing his own thing by hiding or goofing around to be more of a leader for his team.
Not everybody's cut out to be a leader, but in Orlando, Howard actually did his best to play the part, but playing with more stars and getting paid more money seem to have made him relinquish any kind of leadership role. Howard has been more than content to let Kobe Bryant and now James Harden to assume the team's leadership role.
5 Howard is Selfish
Dwight Howard abandoned a perfect situation in Orlando where he could be a big star and be close to his home state of Georgia when he moved to the bright lights of Los Angeles to earn more money. He then decided he couldn't handle the pressure of playing in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant and the banners hanging from the rafters in the Staples Center. Howard couldn't handle being held accountable for his actions on the court and took the challenges to play better play with disinterest. He is looking for a perfect situation that now has him in a position to hamper the development of James Harden if he wants to complain about not getting more shots.
His selfish style of play has made it harder for him to understand what re-posting can do to help his game. This causes him to be less effective for the sake of the team. His tendency to hold onto the ball too long as leads to a fair share of turnovers that seem to be more out of distrust.
4 Howard Hasn't Improved
The greatest players to ever play in the NBA always seem to improve in some way or another when they reach 30 years of age. Michael Jordan shot 50% from the 3-point line after the age of 30. Hakeem Olajuwon had his highest scoring average of his career (27.8 ppg) following the season in which he turned 31 years of age. Kobe Bryant has averaged at least 27 points and 5 rebounds per game in three different seasons after turning 30. Dwight Howard is 29 years old and doesn't seem to be making much progress as he gets closer to turning 30.
Howard is currently averaging just 16.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game. Considering he hasn't averaged over 20 points per game or 14 rebounds per game since he played with Orlando in 2011-12, Howard's play has yet to show much improvement. His current production is significantly lower than his career averages yet his salary has certainly improved later in his career.
3 Howard is Overpaid
Dwight Howard is making over $20 million a year as the Houston Rockets second scoring option. His teammate, James Harden, averages 27.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game, while earning about $6 million less per season. This is too much money to spend on a player whose contributions do not seem to measure up. With so many big men like Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitski, Lamarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan learning how to play differently in order to complement their teams, Howard seems to be so unwilling. It is no wonder that a little jealousy has turned a fair share of players against him.
Howard's capabilities and lack of consistent results makes his case more aggravating. He laughs off bad games and seems to take it in stride when he is pulled in the fourth quarter of tight games because of his poor free throw shooting, yet he still takes home healthy checks at the end of a day. It just seems like he is not willing to perform at the level that would substantiate his high pay. This hinders the Rockets as a possible contender.
2 Howard Plays Soft
The big physique of Dwight Howard added to his athletic prowess and ability to rip a rim off a backboard seem to contradict the way he actually plays. He simply plays too soft.
Howard has been known to throw down a few dunks in his time in the league, but there are times he resorts to off-balance shots or weak taps at the rim. It gets hard to see Howard fading away when dunking would be the preferred method of scoring from a player over 275 pounds. Howard's less than inspired play often allows opposing centers with less of a resume to take him out of the game. Andrew Bogut has had a habit of blocking his shots, Mark Gasol makes him uncomfortable and Serge Ibaka makes him hesitate with his shot. Anthony Davis now plays with such intensity and ever evolving skill that he has become a reminder of what Howard once was and could have been.
1 Howard Underachieves
Dwight Howard seems to lack the competitive spirit and energy to consistently be a dominant force throughout the course of each game. He has not exactly been playing with a head of steam and can't seem to string together a series of inspired performances. On top of that, he is scoring fewer points per game and is not developing more of a post game or extending his range from two foot shots. He simply seems to make a habit out of underachieving.
Howard hasn't averaged over 20 points per game since his days in Orlando. He's now averaging under 12 rebounds per game, which he last experienced in his rookie season when he averaged 10.0 rebounds per game. Howard used to average over 2 blocked shots per game, but has yet to do so in Houston. Despite being unable to pass or shoot, Howard is still recognized as one of the premier centers in the league. It is no wonder why the position of center was removed from All-Star ballots in 2012.