Dwight Howard – Robust MVP?
There has been plenty of noise about this guy in Orlando. People across the Internet, who truly believe that they know more than the guys who actually write for the big leagues, claim that Howard should be the league MVP. He certainly has a case, but I’m not convinced that he is a front runner. This is his best chance yet to get one. The Magic recently had huge trades to improve the team. Will that be used against him when they cast their vote?
The NBA League MVP Criteria will be the format to analyze the parts to see if he has a great chance to hoist that MVP trophy. I’d love to say yes or no, but this gets complicated. The MVP has not distanced himself from the rest of the pack to give a definite answer especially at the midway point of 41 games. We have passed the midway point at the time of this writing.
A) The numbers (AKA building blocks) – 47 games played, 36.0 MPG, 22.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 2.2 blocks, 57.9 FG, 58.5 FT, and 3.5 TO. EFF is +26.74. PER is 25.7. They are fine numbers. The problem is that Howard should be averaging 25+ points per game especially with his improved post play. That is not a huge problem, but my major gripe is the blocks. Why isn’t he averaging 3+ blocks? Howard is an athletic defensive monster. Stan Van Gundy probably told him not to try to block every shot. Eff that. Howard should be blocking everything. He is only young once. The free throw percentage remains terrible and forever will be, but his field goal percentage is awesome. Turnover average is absolutely horrible. His overall production is nice. I still hate his block average. Please get that up, man.
B) Team record – 31-18. 0.633 win percentage. Orlando is currently the fifth seed in the East. Good for playoffs, but hurts Dwight Howard’s MVP chances. General manager Otis Smith did a huge trade that netted Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu. Such a huge trade is risky during the season because of chemistry. And it shows. This should have been done during the summer. The MVP is in a fifth seed? No. He will not win if Orlando sticks around the 4th-5th spot. Orlando better pick it up.
C) Impact – Damn, this guy is the reigning defensive player of the year and Orlando’s defensive anchor. He’s damn good. Do not go through the paint when he is in the game. Ask Derrick Rose. His dominance is on the defensive side and will remain that way for the rest of his career. His offense, even though improved, still needs more work. The team also has to do a better job of feeding Howard. Why isn’t he averaging 25+? That horrible free throw percentage sticks out eh? Look, Howard has been dominating, but he can do more. You know it. He passed Blake Griffin in number of dunks. That’s a great thing. He is too much of physical specimen to be a finesse player. That isn’t him.
Out of 10 MVP candidates sharing the same pie totaling 100, Dwight Howard has a 15% chance of getting that MVP. Do not frown. 15% out of a possible 100% among 10 guys is huge. With that said, if the MVP race ended today, he will not get it. Improve that team record by surpassing Miami and Chicago. Then we’ll talk. However, I do not see that happening because Brandon Bass is injured and Gilbert Arenas became irrelevant.