The NBA has evolved, changed, and grown into an incredibly fast-paced, unselfish and team-oriented game. With the recent changes, players who were once known as dominant on both ends could still survive, but others (specifically big men) have had to drastically change their roles. From post-moves and battling in the paint with other seven-footers to becoming a focal point of many NBA offenses, the now old-school mold of a center is hard to come by because teams just don’t utilize them in the same light.
Since the Warriors developed their extremely efficient, effective style a few years ago, teams have been phasing out the guys who were once the most important aspect of a teams’ means of winning (or losing) basketball games.
Players like Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell come to mind when you talk about the best big men of all time. But, none of those listed had to endure the extreme change in structure, culture, and philosophy surrounding their role quite like what the modern day center has. In fact, Tim Duncan is probably the only player to play in both eras and do so in successful fashion.
This takes us to Dwight Howard, one of the last players to declare for the draft as a high-schooler and quite possibly one of the most polarizing players of the past century. Why? Well, he was at the epicenter of when centers ruled the NBA and when the traditional big man was phased out (2013-2014). Dominant doesn’t even begin to describe Howard in his late Orlando Magic years. He was not only regarded as a franchise changing-player, but one of the brightest young stars in the NBA. Yet, in the same vein, as his career moved on, so did the words “franchise changing” and “dominant.”
So, what do we make of Dwight Howard as a Hall of Famer? Once, he was known as a surefire bet to get in (especially given the amount of players inducted into the Hall of Fame) but as of late, many are writing him off because of his lack of consistency throughout his career. We decided to answer this question with the help of many NBA players, analysts, media members, and influencers.