Yes, he can still dunk the ball and block shots, but the reaction time and lift is simply slower in comparison to what we are accustomed to seeing from the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. He has constantly been slow to rotate defensively, and even slower to react against penetrations. It may not seem like much, but in the NBA, a split second can make all the difference in the world. Tuesday’s version of Howard missed the block on George Hill’s game-winning layup, but the Howard of old would have long been there to swat away such a blatant attempt at the rim.
Here’s what we’re used to seeing from him: