8-Time All-Star and Former Sixer Dominates in Overseas Debut

Dwight Howard, Sixers

Getty Dwight Howard #39 of the Philadelphia 76ers reaches for a rebound during the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on June 16, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It sometimes does not get acknowledged just how competitive the NBA is. Beyond just the thrilling games on a nightly basis, there are always players looking over the shoulders of current NBA players as they desire their spot. This has been seen with Dwight Howard who went unsigned to start the NBA season and elected to sign to play in Taiwan this season. The eight-time all-star has an impressive NBA resume which includes five All-Defensive team honors, a five-time rebounding champ, a two-time block champion, and a 2020 NBA champion.

Despite not getting an NBA opportunity this season, Howard seems to be enjoying his early time in Taiwan and made a strong impression in his debut.  The 36-year-old put up 38 points, 25 rebounds, nine assists, and four blocks while leading the Taoyuan Leopards to a 120-115 victory over New Taipei CTBC DEA during his first game.

Howard’s Time With The Sixers

Sixers fans should be quite familiar with Howard as he was the team’s primary backup big man during the 2020-21 season. In his 17.3 minutes per game, he averaged 7.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.9 personal fouls. While there were some frustrations with Howard’s tendency to foul in unnecessary situations, he had a mostly positive impact during his time with the organization.

Perhaps even more notable than his on-court play was his impact within the Sixers organization. Howard stayed late on regular occasions working out with younger players like Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe. The veteran oftentimes set up a speaker and ran the workouts himself. He also flashed his personality whenever he spoke to the media and was quick to celebrate a free frosty with the fans whenever missed free throws occurred.

Howard’s Time Overseas

After serving as his team’s primary weapon for most of his career, Howard made an admirable transition to a role player in a way not all guys are capable of. He did an excellent job simplifying his game as a screen-and-roll threat and shot blocker. While he had been known for his defense throughout his career, Howard eliminated his post touches from his play and extended his NBA career by playing for a few teams, including the Sixers and Lakers.

The former number-one overall pick looks to be enjoying himself both on and off the court in his new living situation. Howard recently showed himself enjoying some of the unique cuisines in Taiwan.

On the court, he looks to be having just as much fun. During his debut, Howard attempted 10 (!) three-pointers with the crowd cheering as he launched every attempt. For reference, he attempted 103 total three-pointers across his 18-year NBA career. Howard only connected on two of these long-range attempts and also was seen running pick-and-rolls as the ball-handler. These types of opportunities would never be asked of him in an NBA uniform. This also is further evidence of just how talented every NBA player is with a basketball in a way that is oftentimes taken for granted.

Howard has kept the door open on an NBA return and says he still wants to play a 19th season to round out his career. For the time being it is great to see him enjoying his time overseas and playing at a high level. While the backup center situation still is not entirely fixed in Philadelphia, it has already been seen that Howard is not the solution so don’t expect his return to occur on the Sixers. Fans will surely remember him fondly and be rooting for his success regardless.

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