This is one heck of a first impression. Dwight Howard made his Atlanta Hawks debut on Thursday night, and his first bucket with the team was something he’s become famous for: cleaning up someone else’s miss with a huge put back slam.
Kent Bazemore – who, like Howard, got paid by the Hawks this offseason – tried a short jumper that hit off the rim. Howard read the ball perfectly, elevated, and threw down. Wizards big man Marcin Gortat was supposed to check Howard on this one, but all he could do was stand there and watch as Atlanta’s biggest free agent signing in years put him on a poster.
This is a big year for Howard, as he went from being one of the most dominant players in the NBA to something of an afterthought as other young and talented big men have came into the league. Plus he’s replacing Al Horford, who left Atlanta to join the Celtics this offseason. The good news for Howard is that if he’s able to keep doing stuff like this for his hometown team – small sample size, I know – then he should be able to re-assert himself into the “best centers in the world” conversation.