Did you happen to watch ESPN during the last few days? It was borderline insane on the coverage regarding where Dwight Howard was going to sign. Now I give credit to Howard as being probably the best center in the game today but come on!! I can easily name 10 players that I would rather have on my team. Howard is a good but not great player, period!! Anyways, it was a very busy news week for the NBA as the stories about Brad Stevens and Dwight Howard dominated the sports scene.
I have to admit, I was totally shocked over the Celtics signing of Stevens as their new head coach. I love Stevens as a coach but I always figured that he would jump to a major college program in the very near future. No disrespect to Butler, but they are not exactly a hot program like an Indiana, UCLA, Duke or North Carolina. It was only a matter of time before a bright young coach like Stevens would get courted by a major program. But the NBA? Say it isn’t true!! I just can’t picture him coaching an NBA team with a bunch of prima donas. Sure, he is given a very young team to coach but the college game seems to bring out his strengths as a coach more. He is best at preparing a team to play with ample practice time and the NBA has far more games and less practice time than the college game. But Stevens can flat out coach and a good coach should be able to coach well at any level or with any style of play.
I wonder if this is just the beginning of having more good college coaches jump to the NBA. Being a college coach at a good program must be very frustrating. Most of your blue chip players only play a year or two and then bolt to the NBA. You constantly have a turnover of players and that makes building chemistry in a program very difficult. It would not surprise me to see more teams look at the college ranks especially if Stevens has a lot of success with the Celtics.
I have to give Dwight Howard a ton of credit for his choice. I think he pretty much wiped out that myth that players only want to play for a select few teams such as the Lakers. Can you imagine some player saying he does not want to play for the Lakers? Is he insane or what? Why would you not want to play for arguably one of the most elite franchises in all of sports? The fact is, most players want to win and play for a championship and that isn’t happening with the Lakers, at least anytime in the short term. Sure Howard could eventually be the guy on that team when Kobe retires soon, which I believe will happen in a few years. But Howard has a chance to join a nice young team that has far more short term potential to win than the Lakers.
Not only does Howard have a chance to win a championship sooner, he has a chance to play for one of the greatest low post big men of all time, Kevin McHale. Howard is a good rebounder and shot blocker but his offensive game leaves a lot to be desired. McHale can help bolster his moves around the basket and that will only make Howard a much better player. It was a no-brainer of a decision in my opinion. It will certainly help Howard’s career down the road.
The off-season in the NBA is know for creating a lot of buzz and these two stories will be talked about for many days to come. Only time will tell if the parties involved made the right decision. I personally feel that both Stevens and Howard will benefit greatly from their choices. It might take Stevens a few years to adapt to coaching in the NBA but he has the tools to become a very good NBA coach. Howard will benefit right away and it should be very interesting to see how his game evolves in the next few years. If it does, then the Rockets will be one of the dominant teams in the NBA for many years to come.