Over the past few decades in the NBA we have seen some dominant big men come and go in the league like two-time NBA champion Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets, two-time champ David “The Admiral” Robinson and four-time champion Shaquille “The Big Aristotle” O’Neal.
All three of these hall of fame caliber centers dominated the game at one point or other during their NBA careers and have multiple titles to prove it. Since the days of these dominant big men there really haven’t been any players at the center position that have had similar success or dominance in the paint.
The player in the NBA today that has been making an impression on the league has been Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. During his short time in the NBA, Howard has won two Defensive Player of the Year awards and was able to help lead his team to the NBA Finals last season. Unfortunately, the Orlando Magic were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, but definitely made a vast improvement as the team has only gotten better with every passing season.
There is no question that the Orlando Magic are one of the most talented teams in the NBA, especially on offense with multiple weapons, but whether or not they are actually a championship caliber team remains to be seen. One of the major problems the Magic have right now is the fact that Dwight Howard just can’t get going offensively.
Fortunately, Orlando is one of the best offensive teams in the league and it is not a glaring problem that could stop them from becoming NBA champions right now, but it is something that might be a big concern if they end up playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals once again.
The one big difference, besides the NBA titles, between the dominant centers as I mentioned before and Dwight Howard is the fact that these great centers of the past could single-handedly dominate a game on the offensive end of the floor if their team needed them to. Howard on the other hand, has not been able to show that he can do this and it might be the difference between being a great player and being a future Hall of Famer.
The one player at the center position that just dominated on the offensive end of the floor in today’s game was Shaquille O’Neal. Obviously time is starting to creep up on the future Hall of fame center as he is far from the player he used to be, but when he was on top of his game there was no way he could be stopped once he got in the paint and he set his mind to score as many buckets as possible.
At times, Dwight Howard looks like he could be as dominant Shaquille O’Neal on the offensive end of the floor, but for some reason he’s not consistent with his offense of play and his team cannot depend on him in late game situations.
The one thing that I believe that Dwight Howard should develop over the next couple of years is a solid post game. Without a solid post game, Howard will be a great center, possibly the best in the NBA in today’s game, but not a legendary one way to be mentioned in the same category as Olajuwon or Shaq.