When Dwight Howard left the Los Angeles Lakers and bolted to the Houston Rockets, we heard and saw the reactions of plenty – perhaps most notably from Kobe Bryant, who immediately unfollowed his former teammate on Twitter upon hearing the news.
The one person most relevant to the situation that we’ve yet to hear from had been Mike D’Antoni, whose offense was cited as a critical reason for Howard’s desire for departure. So what did the coach think of his time with the center? How did D’Antoni feel about Howard’s decision to join the Rockets? Vincent Bonsignore of Daily News has all the details below:
“Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on the pick and roll, and that’s what I do?” D’Antoni remembers, wistfully. “I just thought, ‘Boy, that’s gonna be a staple.’ ”
“There was just a lot of conflict, emotionally,” D’Antoni said. “People were not settled in their roles. But it’s funny because a lot of times players will say ‘I don’t know my role.’ It’s not that you don’t know it, you just don’t accept it.”
“The only thing that cracks me up is (the question) ‘Why didn’t you go through him more?’ ” D’Antoni said. “Well, he was hurt. Why would we go through him if he’s hurt? You have to (factor) that in. Why would we do that with Kobe and Nash and (Pau) Gasol on the floor? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
“The thing that cracks me up is Houston, they do the exact same thing,” D’Antoni said, laughing. “And so (Howard) is gonna go to Houston? OK, so did they talk about change there? Don’t tell me that it’s that different.”
“He’s a force and he can be really, really good and dominate the league,” D’Antoni said. “But it’s in an area that he’s not loving right now. He wants to dominate a different way, in the low post and all that. But he needs to get better there, and he will. But his greatness is in defense and being a physical force. I think he’d be better served if he embraces that.
“But he’s good.”
So in short, D’Antoni thought Howard did not want to get with the program and asked to do more on the offensive end, despite the fact that he was playing hurt and proved to be very ineffective on isolation situations through at least the first half of the season. And now, he will join an offense that will actually look very similar to that of the Lakers, and even has a player alongside him that eats up almost as many possessions as Kobe in James Harden.
From the coach’s perspective, it’s obvious that this entire Howard fiasco has been comical. From an overall perspective, you can see why D’Antoni and Howard were never a good fit: both are stubborn and set in their ways, and neither are willing to compromise, adjust and sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
Onto other news from around the league:
- D.J. Augustin has found a home in Canada, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “Point guard D.J. Augustin has reached agreement on a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Toronto Raptors, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Augustin will back up starter Kyle Lowry next season. Augustin played in 76 regular-season games for the Indiana Pacers a season ago, and 19 playoff games in the team’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. He averaged 8.2 points in the East semifinals victory over the New York Knicks. Augustin, 25, played four seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats before signing with Indiana as a free agent last summer. In his best season, Augustin averaged 14.4 points and six assists in 2010-’11 for Charlotte.”