FRIDAY JULY 21, 2017
 
Blog THROWIN SMOKE
DWIGHT HOWARD IS HOUSTON'S ROCKETMAN
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Meet the new Dwight, same as the old Dwight.

On Saturday afternoon, the Houston Rockets officially introduced Dwight Howard as their new centre after agreeing on a four-year, $88-million deal a week earlier.

“It means a lot to me just to have a fresh start and have an opportunity to write my own story,” Howard gushed.

The Rockets pulled out all the stops to celebrate their free-agent acquisition, including a flashy video montage, praise from former Rockets all-stars, and even introducing a new nickname for their big centre: Rocketman.

Unfortunately for Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and the Houston fans, they are just the latest suckers to fall for Howard’s charms.

We’ve heard the whole “fresh start” spiel before. We heard it in 2007 when he signed a max-value extension with the Orlando Magic, only to mail it in and whine for at least the last two years of the deal. We heard it when he re-committed to the Magic in 2012 despite repeatedly demanding a trade. We heard it when he finally got his wish and was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers, only to sleepwalk through the bulk of last season, which mercifully ended with a first-round sweep by the San Antonio Spurs.

If there’s one thing we know about Dwight Howard, it’s that he’s supremely talented. If there are other things we’ve learned about Howard, it’s that he whines incessantly, he destroys everyone around him, and he sucks at free throws.

The biggest problem, it seems, is that Howard thinks he’s a team leader when clearly he is not. Despite putting up ridiculous numbers in Orlando, he was second fiddle to Jameer Nelson, and that drove him crazy. He could have re-signed with the Lakers for another year and an extra $30 million in salary, but apparently the Lakers refused to force Kobe Bryant out to rebuild around Howard.

Like so many of the so-called Me Generation, the 27-year-old Howard can’t accept that respect and authority aren’t given, they’re earned.

And now, he’s Houston’s problem.

The pomp and circumstance surrounding today’s announcement will effectively stroke Howard’s ego, and he’ll say all the right things all summer long. It might actually look like he’s really turned over a new leaf. Maybe he actually has matured.

But all that will come crumbling down when Howard realizes that the Rockets are James Harden’s team. And his tune will change pretty drastically the first time coach Kevin McHale yanks him out down the stretch in a close game because he can’t hit free throws.

Then reports will come out that he can’t play under McHale, like he couldn’t under Mike D’Antoni or Stan Van Gundy.

And he can’t play with Harden, like he couldn’t play with Kobe or Nelson.

The honeymoon will be over, and the Rocketman will come crashing down to Earth … Yet again.

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