Dwight Howard was signed by the Philadelphia 76ers, just hours into free agency. This came as a shock to most NBA fans, but the acquisition of Howard calls for celebration for Sixers fans.
Heading into free agency, I was strongly under the belief that the Philadelphia 76ers‘ greatest deficiency was the backup center spot. This has been a persistent problem for Philly which was most glaring when Greg Monroe started at the five in a playoff game two seasons ago. With Al Horford being traded and Norvel Pelle getting waived, we had one center on the roster. I had settled for Alex Len, Meyers Leonard, or a similar player.
The front office surprised us once again, agreeing to a deal with former all-star center Dwight Howard, who was widely assumed to be making a return to the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, it seems he thought so too after tweeting that he’d be remaining at the Lakers very soon after the commencement of free agency, a tweet that was deleted briefly after.
Why didn’t Howard sign with the Lakers? We don’t know. What we do know is the Sixers have acquired a veteran big who was an elite backup for the reigning championship team, even starting seven games in the playoffs for them.
Why Howard is a steal for the Sixers.
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His contract only exhausts just over $1.6 million of Philadelphia’s cap space. This still gives the Sixers about $4 million to spend in free agency. Making this signing great value.
Howard had the highest rebounding rate, the highest offensive rating, and the third-best defensive rating of any Laker to play more than ten games last season. 79.4 percent of his field-goal attempts came from within three feet of the rim and he shot 81.4 percent from this range. This is why he was so efficient offensively, as the majority of his scoring would have been generated from putbacks and finishing on lobs.
Unfortunately, I think he’s beyond the stage in his career where he can generate his own offense. What he can do is effectively protect the rim, get up and down the floor in transition and be a good pick-and-roller, while causing chaos for the opposition on the offensive board.
That, to me, sounds like the perfect player to replace Joel Embiid in the times that he’ll need to be replaced. I’m excited to see how the Philadelphia 76ers do with Howard being such an important piece for them, at least for the time being.