Hopefully, you’re ready with cheat sheets, rankings and tips for your annual fantasy basketball draft party. If it hasn’t happened already, just know it’s coming. In the coming week, we’ll be breaking down and debating key matchups so when the time comes to choose, you’ll know where to go.
Up first was the debate over the best fantasy player in the game. Is it LeBron or KD? Now today, we’re pitting Dwight Howard against Kevin Love. We argue. You decide.
*based on head-to-head format*
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His numbers: 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. That’s what the league’s best center put up in a down year. Dwight Howard entered his one and only season in Hollywood coming off of major back surgery, and it didn’t take long for fans to lose patience with him. Although he would never say it directly, it didn’t seem like Dwight was enjoying his time as a Laker.
Enter the Houston Rockets, who last year were one of the most enjoyable teams to watch, and happened to be extremely fantasy friendly. They were incredibly efficient on the offensive end of the court, finishing second in the NBA in points per game with 106 and tying for the league lead in three-pointers attempted with an average of 28.9 each contest. For Dwight’s team to be the most efficient, it’s imperative that he is surrounded by shooters, and if nothing else, Houston certainly offers him that. If I’ve learned anything through the years of playing fantasy basketball, it’s that when a perfect player meets a perfect situation, it equals fantasy success. Now is the time for Dwight to turn that frown upside down.
I don’t want to hear any shenanigans about how Howard’s free throw percentage is going to tank a team. I understand the implications that his massive amounts of missed attempts has on your weekly outcome, but every owner should be willing to punt one category in order to get a dominant force in three others. In nine NBA seasons, Dwight has led the league in field goal percentage once (his career field goal percentage is an amazing 58 percent), blocks per game twice, and rebounds per game five times. Even in last season’s debacle, Dwight took home the rebounding crown.
What’s scary is that Dwight is entering his 10th season, and we may not have seen his best fantasy year yet. We all saw how Patrick Ewing helped Dwight develop his offensive game from nothing to something, but now that he’ll be in contact with Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon on an everyday basis, he’s certain to pick up a thing or two, and perhaps could take his offense to the next level.
Offensively, Dwight will never be in Kevin Love’s league, but on the flip side, there’s no comparison between the two on the other end of the court. With a dominant defensive force like Dwight, any bucket should be considered gravy, but Howard still manages to put up a respectable amount of points each season. Love has put up some impressive numbers over his short, five-year career, but he has also missed tons of time to injury. Dwight has played a full 82-game slate five different times in his career.
As the great Chubbs once suggested to Happy Gilmore, it’s important to “find your happy place.” Houston should be just that for Dwight Howard. He finally has the chance to be the centerpiece of a championship team, and he should thrive in his new role both in real life and in the fantasy game. The public perception of Dwight has been so negative that it actually sunk his fantasy value. Yahoo! kicks off the preseason with him ranked at 43, and ESPN has him at 39. Grab him while his value is low because it won’t be down for long.