Healthy Howard Is Aiming Big

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HOUSTON –
It was just one play among the dozens that were run during a week of pickup games and drills during an informal week of basketball in the mountains of Colorado.

Dwight Howard spun and broke toward the basket and Jeremy Lin heaved a pass that got away from him. Everybody in the gym thought the ball was sailed too high and was out of bounds.

But there went Howard rising up, higher and higher, like a ski lift during the winter season at Aspen. He snagged the ball out of the thin air and slammed it through the hoop.

“I was in awe,” Lin said. “I didn’t think there was any way he could get to that ball.”

Weeks later, Howard is still chuckling at the memory and nodding his head about what it could mean for the Rockets this season.

“He (Lin) was in shock that I actually caught it,” Howard said. “He hadn’t seen it. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that stuff.”

A year after back surgery forced him to practically limp into training camp for his season of darkness in Los Angeles, the 27-year-old says he’s feeling close to his old form.

“As you know, health is very important, not just to basketball players, but everyday life,” Howard said on Media Day at the Toyota Center. “For me, being healthy is gonna bring back a lot of the things I’ve been able to do in the past. I’m very excited about that. I think my health is coming back. I’m getting some of the bounce back in my legs.”

Howard chose not to look back at the season of disappointment and recrimination with the Lakers.

“There’s no need to get into that,” he said. “Every city is different. I like the people here. They’re great. They’ve treated me well, embraced me.

“The situation in L.A., it’s over with. It didn’t work out for both sides. So we have to move on. It happens in everyday life. People decide to do different things with their lives. It’s just that you’re in the NBA, at the top of your game and everybody wants to know what you’re doing. It is what it is.

“For anybody’s team to be successful, you have to have a great environment. You don’t want to work in a bad place. What happened in L.A. was just unfortunate. We were plagued by injuries last season and things that happened just happened. Like I said, it’s over. It’s done with. You can’t go back. I’m in a different place mentally, physically, and spiritually. So I’m looking forward to the season.”

Howard says he’s probably better prepared to handle the scrutiny that will come his way Houston than he was a year ago.

“Being in the NBA and being at the top, you’re gonna be scrutinized for a lot of different things,” he said. “You have to just stay away from it as much as possible. You got to take the good. You got to take the bad. You got to take the ugly and just do the same thing. You just got to go about your business. If you get caught up in the bad and ugly, it messes you up as a person and as a player. I think some of that happened last year. I allowed some of the bad stuff that happened to get in my head. I pushed myself away from people in certain situations. So you have to stay away from all that stuff, the negativity, wherever it may be and just focus on the task at hand.”

He’s heard the increased buzz about the Rockets around the basketball world during the offseason and he’s heard general manager Daryl Morey say that the team’s goal for the season is to secure one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“Seeds don’t matter,” Howard said “We want a championship. It’s the only thing that matters.”

32 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Dwight Coward is the most overrated player in the NBA. Dude gave up on his team in Orlando. Couldn’t handle the spotlight in Los Angeles. Now what makes him think that Houston is going to be any different? The guy is a cancer to every team he goes to.

    • chigchig says:

      because averaging a double double off back surgery is not handling anything, dude had 17 and12 and the best numbers of all Cs (I still count timmy d as a PF)

      dude i cant wait till you sour lakers fan have to sit there and watch him get work in the playoffs while kobe and pau at home hoping gthey lose LOL

  2. marty says:

    Expecting a big year from DH contrary to how a lot of people who believe otherwise. Bad situation in LA..Never felt welcomed even though he came back early from an injury and still played well but not dominant.

  3. sports fan says:

    Diwght Howard has yet to play the best basketball of his career. He’s happier in Houston & has been learning from McHale & Hakeem. He’ll play better than all of his previous seasons. If Houston can get a few more key players they’re going to win a championship in 1-2 years.

  4. Rockets123 says:

    Here it goes. First of all the only thing Laker fans can do right now is talk, because obviously this year for them is going to be nothing. They have a Kobe whose just now recovering and a squad that has not been able to play together well, not even with Howard (best center in the league), Pau, Nash and Metta, on their side. Now think about this season: exclude Howard and world Peace, they have nothing just bitter words to say. Now the rockets on the other hand have combined the forces of Howard, Harden, Parsons, Lin, plus a great coaching staff. Unlike the Lakers, they actually thought about producing a solid and good coached team. Im not saying the rockets will win a championship, but they will be in the mix.
    Orlando and LA fans are just jealous because Houston will do what they weren’t able to do with a great player like Howard.

  5. Kobe-Nash-Pau-Carmelo-Lebron says:

    Howard will have a chance for a championship in Houston buttttttttttttttt………. LA will halt his chances specially next year when LA gets Carmelo and Lebron.. GO Howard, do it this year because if you don’t get it this year you will not get anymore.. GO LA..

  6. tanibanana says:

    This season the Rocket will launch higher… Thanks D12.

  7. Jpoet says:

    Ok the dude is good he’s got skills no doubt but, he’ll never win an NBA championship because he’s to nice. Every great center that’s ever won a title has played with aggression. He doesn’t play with aggression that’s why he will never win.

  8. I think Houston will do fine until the 2nd round of the playoffs, D12 is a big difference from the team last season but the fact that they JLin run the plays is still not at par with Parker or Westbrook. Mike Conley is better than JLin so Houston is still at 4th in the West. The rookie Schroeder would be a nice fit with them with the run n’ gun play and eventhough the kid is just 19 he’s playing with Pro’s in Europe.

  9. sammmmmmmmy says:

    timmmmy says NO

  10. DH!@ says:

    Hes going to be Pat EWING II at best. Not shaq, nor hakeem level.

    • Ceezmoneyallday says:

      Pat Ewing 2 ??? The only reason why Ewing never won was because he playing in the Jordan era . Hakeem is the greatest center of all time but he even got lucky that Jordan retired for those 2 years because if Jordan didn’t Hakeem would be ringless has well . The Knicks in the early / mid 90s would of won 2 chips easily if it was for Jordan . So chill before you mention Patrick ewings name .

      • Vlad says:

        I disagree with you here.
        Sure…i can’t tell what type of performance Jordan would have had in 94 and 95….or the fact that he always found a way to win no matter what. It ‘s all speculation, but if I may speculate…94 and 95 were Huston`s years, period.

        I think the lucky one in all this is Jordan and the Bulls, for never meeting with Huston in the finals in that period. From 91 to 93, when Bulls won 3 rings and were the dominant team in the NBA, they played 6 games against Huston and they lost 5 of them. Although we are talking about regular season games, a 5-1 score says something about how those teams would have match up. And Jordan himself told his teammates, and i quote: “It’s a good thing they don’t make their way to the finals. Because we don’t have an answer for the big fella”.

  11. sanjay says:

    something tells me it would be OKC vs Houston again with OKC getting whooped by the big men in the center! None of the two teams have edge to dispatch the spurs even the clippers who would be spurs opponent in the conference semi-finals! So it would be spurs from the conference again( leonard and green on the rise you see).
    the golden gate and memphis does not come back with any special weapon to dispatch the spurs. One struggles with defense and other with offense!
    So nothing is gonna change both from the east and west with so many pretenders, just staying pretenders!
    It would be MIAMI VS SPURS AGAIN FOR AN ENCORE with HEAT still holding the edge. Because if you leave lebron open, he will kill you this time right from the go, if you let him go to the basket,he will cause a mayhem at the ring with duncan,diaw with no legs and splitter with no strength to stop him!

    Anyone think of UTAH VS BULLS? This has similar story line folks!
    dig it?

    • Hooper says:

      Dude the warriors are better than the spurs, along with every other western conference contender (clippers,okc) i hate to say it but i think this is the year that father time defeats big timmy and the spurs

      SideNote : The warriors have a healthy bogut a healthy lee and andre igudola, along with some of the former players like harrisson barnes and you talk about struggling with defense, memphis still has no offensive weapon so i can agree with that

      • chigchig says:

        Dude till its proven, last i saw the spurs punked the team that arguably played the best they can.. they got good additions, but bogut is healthy till hes played the grind of 10 games lol..

  12. okc2014 says:

    The Rockets are going to shoot for the stars. Everybody will see.

  13. HoHo says:

    Why so much hate? Why make a comment or read an article about someone you don’t like?

    Good on you D12, you’ll do great in Houston. You can win the NBA Championship this season, if not then try again next year. Miami didnt win in the first year of the big three, Kobe left Charlotte and won championship in a different team, Jordan won his first championship in his 7th year.

  14. sephkane says:

    I’m loving the rockets hate now that we have DH12. Keep the hate brewing, haters. It’s gonna be a long season for you.

    Also, did I hear a little jab at the lakers in his comments? Lol I can’t wait till November.

  15. J says:

    they will be great but considering that there are teams in the nba like the heat pacers nets knicks and bulls it will be tough to win a championship (it already is tough but you know what I mean) I think that they will lock up the 4th seed behind thunder spurs clippers and warriors

  16. Darryl says:

    Howard is another build ups, he couldnt do it in orlando and definitely couldnt do it in LA now hes gonna try houston??? i dont think so he will let them down as he did everyone else.

    also his skills arent that great either the so called superman is a super dud, just making money wherever, if he cant win a championship for the rockets where will he go???

    he reminds me of mutumbo. big for nothing.

    • Altrrack says:

      Never under estimate the best big man in the game.

    • JasonNotFriday13th says:

      Dude! Serioiusly? A build up? Couldn’t do it in Orlando? I take it you’ve forgotten that he did take Orlando to the Finals in 07 with basically him and Nelson carrying the team? I know it’s not winning a championship, but it was close enough to have been one.Then you talk about not doing it in LA….Man, LA couldn’t have found themselves to a championship if you gave them the link and paid for their internet bill for them. LA’s whole season last year was doomed from the start. Don’t put that on just Howard, that was a team effort. It’s amazing how all the LA fans loved him when he was there, but now that he’s no longer there, all they do is spit fire at hm. No doubt Howard has his faults, but I do believe that he is in the best place to mature and grow. After all, he doesn’t have much of an option. This is it for him. He knows he can’t have another falling out with another team or his worth is pretty much shot for the rest of his NBA career. I’m sure he realizes that it’s got to be Houston or Bust.

      His skills aren’t that great huh? Yes his offensive skills are limited, but still scoring an NBA average score of 21+ ppg, 12+ rpg…come on man, stop hating and take those blinders off. I can understand not liking the guy, but reality is just that, he is good, can be better, but he is good.

      Don’t even get me started on that whole Mutombo comment. All i can say is educate yourself before speaking. Can you say defensive force? Just because he wasn’t all flash, scoring doesn’t mean he was “big for nothing.” and the guy is BIG in heart, great humanitarian, so get off Deke’s case man.

    • Van says:

      Darryl, u sound like a bitter, miserable, jealous, unhappy soul.

    • Ceezmoneyallday says:

      You obviously don’t watch basketball . Mutombo never avg 20 pgg ever in his career. You think Dwight is good for nothing ?? Lol your gonna see what he does this year

  17. LemW says:

    THOMAS JEFFERSON LIGHT SCIENCE101:
    D12 had the spotlight in Orlando.
    Kobe dominates the spotlight in LA.
    D12 in LA can’t play in Kobe shadow.
    Houston… We Got D12 Lift-Off!
    The lights came back on in Texas.

  18. D12 never is going to win in Houston..he know that…he cant handle the spotlight in LA..which was the best chance for him to win….like he said is too late now….same thing happen to him in Orlando…never ever in houston