I have had enough of Dwight Howard


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Update (April 20th, 2012)

Apparently the real reason why Howard is sitting out is because he is having spinal surgery, which will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Nevertheless, my opinion of Howard remains - He is not a leader, and will never be the best player on a championship team.


*****



Fuck Dwight Howard.



Seriously, Dwight. Go fuck yourself.



Is Dwight Howard really the guy you would want to build a team around?

Forget the fact that Howard cannot carry the scoring load late in games (in fact, sometimes he is a liability). Forget the fact that he has never had that killer instinct, eff you attitude when it comes to winning games. Forget the fact that he is 26 years-old and still has the maturity of a teenager. Sure, Dwight Howard is a special player and one hell of an athlete. But is he the kind of player that can lead a team to a championship?



No.



And personally, I have had enough of Dwight Howard's bullshit. This is not a matter of taking sides (in the NBA, whenever there is a dispute between a franchise player and a coach, you always side with the player. I'm sorry, but coaches don't sell tickets, jerseys, shoes, and other merchandise). This is a matter of Dwight Howard being a total chicken shit, drama queen.

I'll begin by saying this: I feel bad for Orlando fans. I really do. I know that Orlando does not have much basketball history like the Lakers and Celtics, and do not have the hardcore fan base like Warriors and Knicks. But holy shit, the Magic's history has been such a roller-coaster over the last 20 years, all capped off with the soap opera that is Dwight Howard. I cannot think of any other team that has had such a force of good fortune mixed when bad luck and horrible personnel decisions -

Good news!
1992: Orlando wins the NBA Draft lottery the same year that Shaquille O'Neal comes out[1]

More good news!
1993: Orlando wins the NBA Draft lottery again despite having the least likely chance to win, in a year where Chris Webber enters the draft.

[1] Teams that win the lottery are not always lucky. It's not every year that sure-thing studs enter the draft. Sure, there are guys like Shaq, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and Blake Griffin. On the other hand, there are guys like Michael Olowokandi, Joe Smith, Kwame Brown, Kenyon Martin, Andrew Bogut, and Andrea Bargiani.

Bad news
Orlando trades Chris Webber's draft rights to Golden State for Penny Hardaway and three future first-round draft picks. While Hardaway ends up being a nice complimentary piece to Shaq for a few years, he becomes injury prone five years later. Orlando trades Hardaway in 1999, and he is never the same afterward. Meanwhile, Chris Webber ends up becoming one of the league's best power forwards, and helps the Sacramento Kings become an elite team in the NBA. More on this later.

More bad news
Michael Jordan returns to the NBA.

More bad news
Nick Anderson, a 70% career free throw shooter, misses four free-throw attempts late in game one against the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals. The game ends up going into overtime, the Rockets win, and sweep Magic to claim their second consecutive title.

More bad news
After Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls spank the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, Shaquille O'Neal leaves Orlando to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Good news!
After a few lottery seasons and first-round playoff exits, the Magic somehow end up with one of the few good picks in the awful 2000 NBA Draft by selecting the Florida Gator, Mike Miller. In the same summer, the Magic end up stealing superstar Grant Hill from Detroit in a sign-and-trade for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace (more on this later). The Magic also sign local hero, Tracy McGrady, who proved himself to be a solid scorer in Toronto. Boy, things sure are looking good in Orlando!

Bad news
Just four games into the 2001 season, Grant Hill re-injures his ankle, and thus sidelined for the entire season. Womp womp.

Good news!
In Hill's absence, Tracy McGrady erupts! He raises his scoring average from 15.4 PPG to 26.8 PPG, winning the NBA's Most Improved Player award. The Magic lose in the first round to the Millwaukee Bucks. But that doesn't matter, because once Grant Hill comes back, the Magic will be a force!

Bad news
Just 14 games into the 2002 season, Grant Hill re-injures his ankle, and thus sidelined for the entire season. The Magic lose in the first round of the playoffs to the Charlotte Hornets. Meanwhile, Shaq and the Lakers wind up winning their third consecutive championship. Also worth mentioning is that the Lakers play one of the most memorable Conference Championships of all time against - Get this- Chris Webber and the Sacramento Kings! For those keeping score at home, Magic fans went from potentially enjoying a Shaq-Webber duo to watching Shaq and Webber play each other in the Western Conference Finals eight years later.

While the Magic were struggling to make the playoffs, Shaq and Chris Webber were contending for titles


More bad news
Just 29 games into the 2003 season, Grant Hill re-injures his ankle, and thus sidelined for the entire season[2]. That doesn't phase McGrady and the Magic - McGrady wins the scoring title, the Magic sneak into the playoffs as an eight seed, and jump out to a 3-1 lead against the top team in the East, the Detroit Pistons. McGrady then tells the media "It feels good to finally be out of the first round!" Boy, things are looking good in Orlando!

[2] Thank goodness for copy-and-paste shortcuts!

All of this momentum comes to a screeching halt when the Magic lose three straight to the Pistons and fail to make the second round. To add insult to injury, the Pistons were lead by Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Wallace, who Orlando traded for Grant Hill! But who cares, right? Wallace is a total liability on offense. Besides, when the Magic get Grant Hill back, they'll be able to top the Pistons the next season!

More bad news
Grant Hill has to have more surgery on his ankle prior to the 2004 regular season, and thus sidelined for the entire season. The Magic end up with the worst record in the entire league. The Magic fire coach Doc Rivers (more on this later). Meanwhile, Magic fans get to watch an exciting NBA Finals where Ben Wallace and the Detroit Pistons defeat Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Until 2007, Ben Wallace played more playoff games in Detroit than all of Grant Hill's Magic games combined


Good news!
The Magic win the lottery in the same season that Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor enter the draft. The Magic wisely choose Howard over Okafor (a lot of experts and analysts loved Okafor and thought that the Magic might regret this decision). Wow! If Howard pans out, the Magic will be a force down the road with Tracy McGrady, and after Grant Hill comes back.

Bad news
McGrady decides that he is finished in Orlando and pushes for a trade. The Magic settle for Steve Francis - A selfish combo-guard who overachieved in a time where the NBA's talent was the thinnest since the 1960's. Francis only lasts for two seasons in Orlando, before he is dealt to New York in exchange for Penny Hardaway's expiring contract and Trevor Ariza.

Good news!
After rebuilding for a few seasons, the Magic draft a quality point guard in Jameer Nelson and a sharpshooter in JJ Reddick. Dwight Howard proves himself to be one of the NBA's best big men, and Grant Hill finally has a relevant season in 2007. Although Hill signs with Phoenix after the 2007 season, Howard and the Magic continue to improve.

Bad news
The Magic lose their first-round pick to Detroit from the Darko Milicic trade in 2006. Detroit uses the pick to draft Rodney Stuckey. Six months later, the Magic trade Trevor Ariza for Maurice Evans and Brian Cook. More on this later.

More bad news
Doc Rivers wins the 2008 NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics, and becomes one of the league's best coaches. But that does not matter that much because...

Good news!
The Magic thwart a shorthanded Celtics the following season in the playoffs! They then shock LeBron James and the Cleveland Caviliers in the Eastern Conference Finals to make their first NBA Finals appearance since 1995!

Bad news
Trevor Ariza helps the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Orlando Magic in just five games to win the 2009 NBA Championship.

Something to ponder: Don't you think that Ariza and Stuckey could have helped the Magic in the NBA Finals?

More bad news
Instead of resigning forward Hedo Turkkoglu - Who was only the 2nd most important player on the Magic - Otis Smith (Magic GM) lets him sign with the Toronto Raptors. The Magic try to makeup for the loss of Hedo by trading Rafer Alston (another key player during the 2009 Finals run) to New Jersey for hometown hero Vince Carter. The Magic end up losing in the Eastern Conference Finals the following season to Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.

To make everything come full-circle during the 2011 season, the Magic trade Vince Carter and other players to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Richardson and - Get this - Hedo Turkoglu! So instead of holding onto Turkoglu, Alston, and the rest of the cast that made the Finals in 2009, the Magic roll the dice on Vince Carter for 2010, only to trade him for Hedo in 2011! Bravo.

Something to ponder: If the Magic had Ariza or Stuckey (or both), would they have needed a shooting guard in Vince Carter in the first place?



Now Magic fans have to put up with the soap opera that is Dwight Howard. Having him demand a trade, say that his heart is in Orlando, then signing a one-year extension (if your heart's in Orlando, then why not sign for longer?), and now his refusal to play for Stan Van Gundy. I honestly don't know how Orlando fans are standing for this. This is flat-out unacceptable.

Vince Carter still sucks


I will admit, part of me cannot blame Dwight Howard for wanting out of Orlando. After all, aside from Turkoglu, every major player that the Magic had or could have had (Shaq, Webber, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Trevor Ariza, Ben Wallace) were much more successful with other teams. Especially when considering that had the Magic had a competent GM (instead of say, Otis Smith), Howard AND SVG could have avoided the Vince Carter debacle in 2010 and could have (and could still be playing) with a cast of Tukoglu, Ariza, Nelson, Reddick, Stuckey, Glen Davis, and Ryan Anderson.

On the other hand, everything from Howard's attitude this season, to demanding a trade, to making a list of teams he will only play for to hurt his trade value, to just signing a one-year extension, to his refusal to play with Stan Van Gundy in the playoffs is just one big eff you to Magic fans. Fucking seriously, Dwight, this drama couldn't wait until the season was over? You couldn't put your differences with SVG aside for the playoffs[3]? Is it too much to ask to give the Magic fans and season ticket holders (who happen to help pay your salary) a return on their money? Fuck you.

[3] By the way, with the way Miami has played and the way Derrick Rose has been injured all season, the East is looking more wide open than most expected.

This is why Dwight Howard is not a superstar. This is why Dwight Howard will never be the leader of a championship team. Real superstars are players that rise above drama, leave everything on the floor every game, and try their hardest to win. Jordan. Duncan. Kobe Bryant. Dwyane Wade. Shaq. Pierce. Dirk. Garnett. Even ringless players like Nash, Iverson, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and Derrick Rose would never pull chicken shit like this. Not even LeBron would pull chicken shit like this. Dwight Howard's refusal to play for SVG in the playoffs does nothing more than show how much of a loser Dwight Howard really is.

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