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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  153 responses

Top 50: Dwight Howard, no. 5

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Matt Lawyue / @mlawyue

Let’s just cut to the chase because it will inevitably spill over in the comments section – why Dwight Howard does or doesn’t deserve the five spot in this ranking, deja vu from last years.

Spoiler, there will be no mention of his multiple extracurricular activities or hisDwight Howard nice guy persona because they’re irrelevant on the court. I don’t care if he graced our latest cover, or serenaded us with Ken Jeong. I won’t have it.

First, let’s start with his strengths. He’s an excellent defender with great instincts. Dwight takes advantage of his athletic frame better than anyone in the League, aside from LeBron. His rebounding, blocking out, weak-side defense, shot blocking prowess are all feared and revered. Sorry, had to go Clyde on you there. Two consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards to boot, there’s no stopping him on this front.

Offensively, well, he’s getting there. But can you blame him if he chooses to live off athleticism rather than (limited) developed skill? In six seasons, he’s averaged 17.5 ppg on 57.5 fg percentage, with an assortment of putbacks, dunks and straight bullying. He’s led the Magic to one Finals and two Eastern Conference Finals appearances off of athleticism and defense. He’s led the league in rebounding and blocked shots for two consecutive seasons at the tender age of 24-years-old. With LeBron (theoretically) eliminating himself from MVP contention (unless he drops a ridiculous triple-double for the season and gets to the Finals), it will be a dogfight between Durant, Dwight and Kobe (cue bickering over upcoming MVP race).

Dwight’s the ultimate intimidator, a link to a bygone era of big men who actually challenged you at the rim. We should cherish him now, before the likes of soft-serve Bargnani devour us all. I’ve seen a cone play better defense than Bargnani. Clearly, I’m not a fan of Bargnani. I can’t stand typing his name, too. Sorry. Continuing.

So what’s missing from his game?

Low-post moves for starters. We’ve seen the clip of him working out with Hakeem, but he’s had Ewing as his mentor and his jump shot is still broke. It’s also easy to spin baseline and jam when nobody’s guarding you. Yet, there’s no doubt over time, with focus and confidence, we’ll see the low-post game we crave from Dwight. And when that happens, the Magic will be on their way to a championship parade.

It’s more or less a give and take with his free throw shooting. The last three seasons he’s gotten to the stripe at least ten times per game, hitting a little more than half. I’m less inclined to believe this will ever improve to a respectable number, but the fact he draws so many fouls and has the opportunity for easy buckets is encouraging, and effective, for Stan Van Gundy.

Dwight has always averaged more turnovers than assists, even more troubling when you consider all of his damn teammates are capable of knocking down threes, save for Gortat, the perfect Dwight backup. Add passing out of the post as a bullet point in his lack of low-post confidence list.

Now what have we learned? It’s easy to deduce the final four in our Top 50 list, so I’ll say that this is a perfect spot for Dwight. Is he better than Melo, CP3 and Deron? It’s arguable, for sure, but so is any position within a top 10. It’s scary to think what might be if he develops a low-post game, much the way we dreamed of rookie LeBron with a jump shot. Clearly, he’s the best center in the League, and an unfinished product at that. Sky’s the limit for Dwight.

And did I mention he’s dropping an album? Wait, I forgot. Not having this. Sorry.

SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERS OVERALL RANK POSITION RANK
Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 10 9
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 9 8
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 8 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 7 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 7 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 6 7
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 6 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13
Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 26 26 5 6
Al Jefferson Jazz PF 25 23 7 7
Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 24 NR 8 NR
Chauncey Billups Nuggets PG 23 19 7 5
Tyreke Evans Kings PG 22 NR 6 NR
Danny Granger Pacers SF 21 21 5 5
Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 20 32 6 9
Paul Pierce Celtics SF 19 17 4 4
Joe Johnson Hawks SG 18 20 4 4
Rajon Rondo Celtics PG 17 27 5 8
Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 16 16 5 6
Steve Nash Suns PG 15 22 4 6
Tim Duncan Spurs PF 14 6 4 1
Chris Bosh Heat PF 13 13 3 4
Derrick Rose Bulls PG 12 18 3 4
Brandon Roy Blazers SG 11 10 3 3
Pau Gasol Lakers PF 10 14 2 5
Dirk Nowiztki Mavs PF 9 9 1 2
Deron Williams Jazz PG 8 11 2 2
Chris Paul Hornets PG 7 4 1 1
Carmelo Anthony Nuggets SF 6 7 3 2
Dwight Howard Magic C 5 5 1 1

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    I’ve got to admit I was going to just skip the write-up and go straight to saying he was ranked too high, but you convinced me otherwise. The results speak for themselves; two conference Finals appearance, and a Finals appearance, albeit in the East. It is immensely frustrating how much better he could be offensively though.

  • Groves

    if he develops even one of a)a passing game from the post, or b)low post scoring moves, he will be even scarier… add both and 25-15-4-4-2 is not beyond him

  • Reflex

    Perfect placing for him
    4.Durant 3.Wade 2.Mamba 1.Lebron
    but I have a feeling you guys will put KD over Wade, which would be very very wrong

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Getting interesting now.

  • Thegfunk

    For his age hes a beast and I agree he is the best C in the league. Therefore a top ten must.

  • max

    Was Ben Wallace ever in the Top 5?He was even a better defender than Dwight,lead his team to a Championship,Finals and Conf.Finals.I love Howards defense and think it deserves a lot of credit but Top 5?No,no,no.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    KD, Bron, Wade, Kobe
    Good placing for Dwight. Even though his offensive game isn’t there, he still changes the game. He is a force on defense. I am more interested in the next 4 spots though.

  • jahmai

    This seems about right for Dwight.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Kobe will NEVER win anything ever again, not an MVP, not the finals MVP, not a playoff game, maybe not even a regular season game. He is basically done. So let’s not go there Matt. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kobe isn’t even on the list. Artest should have his spot! 3 years from now Kobe won’t even be able to be in the league, he is too injury prone and he only relies on his athleticism to score, like he has his whole career.
    THERE, now we can stay on Dwight for the rest of the conversation today!

  • BBaller

    Is it worth Hakeem O really helping out his low post game? Can you imagine Howard doing the Dream shimmy, he may break an ankle.He should tailor his offensive game after the Admirals or Zo.What Orlando needs to do is get an Offensive threat aka Melo on the team so Howard can focus on the defense end and let Melo be first choice on offense.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    I would love to see CP3 with Dwight and maybe Melo coming too. That would be juicy! The battles between the heat and the magic would be amazing!!

  • BBaller

    Sorry, i should of watched the clip, worst comment by me, Hell yes its worth it! Hakeem’s knowledge is amazing and for his age, the man was smoother on the hook than Howard.Legendary

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    I know it’s only the pre season, but Orlando is DESTROYING every team out there right now. 6-0 in the pre season and they must be beating teams by an average of 25 points. Maybe the whole team did work together in the offseason and everyone is healthy. That could be very dangerous for the rest of the league! MVP is between Durant, Wade, and Dwight I think. Kobe has a chance if he is healthy, but I am hoping he has his minutes reduced right around 34 a game.

  • BBaller

    @ James the Balla ..True, their pre season form is good, but isn’t Vince and co again going MIA on offense in the playoffs the biggest concern for the Magic this Season, can they trust Vince especially?

  • max

    Since SVG became coach the Magic are 25-2 in the Preseason and you know how often they won the Title,or the East.
    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/10/16/magic-dont-lose-the-games-that-dont-count/

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    All I know is, like the article up top says, two ECF appearances, and one Finals appearance and who is to say they won’t make it to the finals again. They are looking really good, and Dwight actually looks a bit smoother on offense.

  • CannibalREX

    No, ok man seriously…. Kobe relies only on his athleticism… ok for bein’ an hater, but c’mon!! the guy can easily score 30 on you without even goin’ to the rim!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Yknot

    Is it me or does this write up and Melo’s express more reasons why the shouldn’t be in the spots they are instead of stating positives?

  • http://ohlaglambam.blogspot.com Zabba

    “With LeBron (theoretically) eliminating himself from MVP contention (unless he drops a ridiculous triple-double for the season and gets to the Finals” — How? They give the MVP award before the Finals.

  • h smo

    I say Kevin durant goes higher than wade

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    I think Pau Gasol is better than Dwight Howard.
    Why am I even comparing the two? Well, cuz both of them were here in India this summer.
    This is my argument: http://hoopistani.blogspot.com/2010/09/dwight-howard-vs-pau-gasol-battle-of.html

  • ctkennedy

    everybody talks about his scorin..hes the HIGHEST SCORIN center in the league ..orlando is top 5 in defense with a roster of players who dont play d cuz hes there…a top reboundin team in the league with a pf who avg. less rebs than chris paul cuz hes there..he does his job perfectly which is too control the PAINT…its not his job to be clutch no big man in history is clutch like that except Hakeem Olujawon…all the other bigs had a great guard to close the game

  • Sigurdur Einar Iceland

    4.Durant
    3.Wade
    2.Lebron
    1.Kobe

    Durant a great player and will get better.
    Wade still great
    Lebron his last two games(talking playoff) were just…. well not good.
    Kobe not the most athletic og physical but he gets the job done. He can still play great D and his is a leader and a figher.

  • max

    To Howards defense:He is only getting 10 shots per game.10.Maybe he just can’t risk to try postmoves and learn by trial and error.And whats really spectacular is that he still managed to get 19 ppg with only ten shots.

  • JayfromdaCHI

    this is a good spot for dwight but for the rest of the spots i do think wade is 4th simply bcuz kevin durant has gotten way better and hasnt missed any games due to injury like wade has and lebron betta not be number 1 bcuz he hasnt done nothing yet except give an hour long speech of saying hes going to miami dnt get me wrong hes a good player but hasnt proven hes the best yet so its between KD and the black mamba for numba 1….. pretty sure the mamba gots it tho.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    ‘Yet, there’s no doubt over time, with focus and confidence, we’ll see the low-post game we crave from Dwight. And when that happens, the Magic will be on their way to a championship parade.’ No doubt? When that happens? Dwight has been in the L for 7 years, had Ewing and now Dream as a mentors and still look like a one-trick robot out there. There is indeed very much doubt that he will ever develop. I have said it numerous times before; Dwight is no more than a bigger, stronger more athletic and slightly more advanced Ben Wallace. He is a stud on D and I have no complains about him on that end of the ball (although he gets into foul trouble more than he should, considering the lack of good centers in the L), but he is so far removed from being even a serious force on O; can’t create his own shot, can’t hit the numerous freebies he get, can’t find the open man, turns the ball over at an alarming rate, doesn’t hold the ball high when he gets it in the paint leading to numerous strips and/or being hacked (remember the Finals vs. LAL he was so futile getting a shot up even with deep paint position), very limited basketball IQ, further Dwight rarely completes the shot after being fouled, something he should be able to all that strength considered. Great defender, horrible offensive player and way too overrated on this list (even though defense wins championships and I very much respect his skills on D). Pau is a way better bigman to have on the court if you are trying to win, plays both ends, understands the game, worse on D but can still corall almost the same amount of rebounds – Pau is clearly the best big in the L as long as Yao is not healthy.

  • JTaylor21

    MAX is right, Nobody ever put BWallace in any top 5 list so how come DHow is here. His defense is very good but Prime Wallace was a better defender and rebounder. Also when people like to claim that DHow’s defense is so great they fail to look at the simple numbers; 2.5 bpg SUCKS compared to past great shot-blockers and only 12.7 rpg for someone with his size and athleticism in a league with few viable big men is not something to gloat about. All I’m saying is that put DHow and those numbers back in the 90s and dude would be lucky enough to be the 10th best center. Don’t get me wrong I love DHow the player but dude has to be BETTER because for all his athletic and physical abilities he should be putting up at least 20ppg/16rpg/4.5bpg, instead everyone is happy with 18/12/2.5 COME ON MAN you’re better than that.

  • tavoris

    @max-did u really give the credit to the Piston’s success to Ben Wallace? I agree (along with Sheed), but the Billup’s jockriders are gonna crucify u, dude

  • ctkennedy

    get the f**k outta here ben wallace avg like 6points a game thats a 12-14pt difference…prince,billups,mcdyess,rasheed wallace,and etc they play d with wallace they played as a complete team on d…with the magic its simply dwight howard is there so we alright a clear one man gang…who have ever avg.16 and 4.5 blocks in a season in your era of livin ..get the f**k outta here

  • ctkennedy

    r yall serious the whole pistons squad played d…prince,billups,rasheed wallace,mcdyess,and etc..magic literally play a man zone with howard and he clean up everything that comes down there…who in the hell avg.16rebs and 4.5blocks in a season in the last 25yrs u talkin the 60s and 70s…lmao

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Jtaylor… what have you agreed with on anything?
    Ben Wallace was a great defender, and if he had a good night you could get 9 points out of him. But most of the time you were lucky to get 6. Not only is Dwight getting almost 20 with no offensive game, but if he gets a move or two and gets a little better at ft’s he could be in the 70 percent range for ft’s (his form isn’t that bad for a bulky big man), and he could average above 20 ppg. Howard is the ONLY reason the Magic have any defense what so ever… the whole defensive scheme is filter through the top and let Dwight swat at it! And 16 rpg? The Dream averaged like, 13. something once I think… so is The Dream not that great at rebounding?

  • Thegfunk

    I do notsee much argument in comparing a current player to one of a past dominance or retired player. This is the top 50 now right? Oh and Popeye jones for the 1 spot!

  • max

    @tavoris I really think that the main reason why they won was defense and as good as Chauncey was as a defender Ben Wallace was the anker.His DRating that year was like 84.That is insane.Everyone is speaking of the clutch shots Chauncey made,but that Pistons team was a clutch TEAM.Rip had clutch shots against the Nets,Prince had defensive plays (remember the Reggie Block?)Sheed was in his prime and contributed when the game was on the line.But it all started with Big Ben.Chauncey was great,but the real MVP of the Finals and of that team was Ben.They never repeated their success when Ben was in Chicago and Cle.

  • http://officialblogfamily.tumblr.com/ Karl G

    4. Wade
    3. Durant
    2. Kobe
    1. James

  • http://masterx1983@hotmail.com marchalmadness

    Lebron number 1: most efficient player byfar.
    2 kobe
    3 durant
    4 wade(cause of his lack of good teammates last year)
    maybe should be higher though.

    Bet everybody gets angry if lebron is nr 1 on this list: Haters!

  • JTaylor21

    For all you people that are LACKING knowledge of basketball history; CLASS IS IN SESSION. Hakeem put up 14rpg/4.6bpg in his 6th season, 14rpg/4bpg the next season, 13rpg/4bpg two seasons later. DRob put up 13rpg/4bpg in his 2nd season, 12rpg/4.5bpg the next, even Deke had a couple of 4+bpg in the mid 90s. Hell Shaq put up 14rpg/3.5bpg in his FIRST season. Now what have we learned today kids; that for those guys to put up those kinds of numbers without the kind of physical and athletic abilities that DHow possess (expect for DRob and early Shaq) why can’t DHow do the same and even should be able to put up better rebounding and block numbers than the ones I mentioned. It’s a travesty that people are defending a guy that puts up only 12.7rpg/2.5bpg in a League that has NO center who can match-up with him physically and athletically. DHow is a DISGRACE to past great centers and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys.

  • ctkennedy

    hakeem olujawon,david robinson,and shaq not in the class of dwight howard as far as physical and athletic abilities is a dumb statment in itself…and u know the RULES aint made for strength to matter as much as he could…them r 3 of the top 10 centers EVER…no other big man in the league can win 60 games and go to 3 straight eastern conference finals at worst with the squads dwight is playin with

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    JTaylor, I could have looked up stats, went off memory man, chill. And he only averaged 14 rebounds per game once. The other time was close, 13.8.

  • Sparker

    i think durant will edge d wade based on playoff success, and that it’s still kobe over lebron, for much the same reason

  • JTaylor21

    I guess that middle school teachers are bad at their jobs because I remember when I said that none of those players posses DHow athletic and physical abilities I also said EXCEPT for DHow and early Shaq. DAMN I guess that “No Child Left Behind” program left some of y’all behind.

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    My top 5 is one for one so far.
    5. Howard !
    4. Wade
    3. Durant
    2. James
    1. Bryant

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Howard deserves this spot, reigning consectuive two time DPOY. Lebron should have demanded a trade to Magic to play with Howard to me, but hey Miami he has friends already. If Howard ever gets an shooting guard that can at least get close to Kobe or Wade level, then he will get some rings in a row. Howard is the NBA future, and Lebron or Dwade yall choose the wrong teammate to look to the future with. BOOK IT!!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    lol Seed, all the hate for the Heat is bad for your health

  • http://bulls.com airs

    1. LeBron
    2. Wade
    3. Kobe
    4. Durant

  • Gabe

    James the Balla, you are gonna look like an Idiot when Kobe wins Finals MVP and the Lakers win the ship this year.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    WTF, lol check the new cover of XXL!!
    Burqa? 50? Soulja? Shirtless… what the hell!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Sometimes JTaylor is funny, I can’t lie.
    Mostly he’s obnoxious, but sometimes he makes me chuckle.

  • KB8toSG8

    Melo deserved this more than D12…… :(

  • Michael Whyte

    Durant has to be number 4. Any higher is stupid. @sparker you said durant before wade because of playoff success? do you not know of d wades success in the playoffs. he has a special ring that kevin durant doesnt. and KD was ugly in the playoffs. R.Westbrook was OKC’s best player in the playoffs!

  • park

    just because he is the best center does not mean he is a top 5 player..

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    You know, every year you place this guy around here and every year he doesn’t improve.
    Just saying.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    SUPER GUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    You can’t really complain about DHow’s defensive numbers.
    The game has changed. Ticky-tac fouls, the restricted area and greater attention towards drawing charges has taken away from one’s ability to block shots and grab rebounds. Centers also defend farther away from the basket because of the craze of more skilled midrange/three point shooters.
    So it’s a bit unfair to say Dwight doesn’t put up the numbers of 90s centers, who didn’t have to deal with all that crap.
    In the 90s, Dwight would be putting up 16rpg/5bpg himself.
    He’d probably score 4 points a game, but he’d be getting his defensive numbers, that’s for sure.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    hey that wasnt me. durant is 2 spot btw

  • http://bulls.com airs

    and @jtaylor, i believe someone asked you to name anyone who averaged 16 and 4.5 and none of the guys you listed did so, so im still failing to see your point exactly.

    but i dont even wanna touch that with a 10 foot pole so y’all go ahead

  • greatnesspersonified

    Kobe better be #1 or heads will roll.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Co-sign juk

  • BRAVO

    5 DWIGHT HOWARD
    4 DWAYNE WADE
    3 KEVIN DURANT
    2 LEBRON JAMES
    1 KING KOBE BRYANT!

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Dwight is great

  • The Philosopher

    Shout out @JTaylor21.
    One of my guys.

  • Overtime

    Finally, I do actually agree with JTaylor.
    Now, JTaylor, would you agree with me, that if Howard had come into the league ten years earlier, there is no way he would have been an all-star by now?

  • flipnoyce

    This spot is too high for him. He couldn’t do jack against a stiff like Perkins. And Perkins aint even in the list.

  • feez22

    … Even though there are better “basketball players” on this list than dwight that aren’t in the top 5 i think this is a good placement. Defense is ALWAYS overlooked in this league. The fact is that the magic are always a top 5 defensive team yet when you look at their perimeter defenders its amazing that they are up that high. for christ sake rashard lewis/vince carter/pietrus as your defenders? and you are top 5? ya i know some of yall will point to what lebron had as defenders in cleveland but i still think its pretty amazing to be a top 5 defensive team yr in and yr out with 2 crappy defenders in vince/rashard and 2 avg defenders in pietrus/jameer. His presence in the game on the defensive end is good but even then he needs some improvement. he commits the silliest of fouls, is inconsistent at times (guy will block your shot out of the gym, foul you the next play down) but overall he is tops in interior defense that this league has to offer. ya i will hear the ben wallace comparisons but look wallace was obviously an elite defender. However wallace had an ELITE defensive team around him as well. Tayshaun prince, billups, rip, sheed were all prime defenders back then when they won a ring. Dwight is pretty much on an island doing it so i commend him for that. I still think potential has a big thing to do with this placement but hey in a list where durant may be placed above wade (which would be absurd) i guess thats how slam rolls.

  • http://www.myczechrepublic.com SAB

    Matt matt matt… “Offensively, well, he’s getting there. But can you blame him if he chooses to live off athleticism rather than (limited) developed skill?” – YES!!! he gets paid how much fking money?!?! it’s not like he hasn’t got time to work on it!!

  • D12FSU

    Im not buying the fact that Orlando, a top 4-5 team in the league, has only one player in your top 50 (I believe they had 4 last year)

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Dikembe Mutombo was a five-time all-star in the 90s. Dude couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a god damn boulder.
    I’m pretty sure Howard woulda been an all-star in the 90s. He just wouldn’t make a SLAM top-5 list.

  • JTaylor21

    Shout-outs the Philosopher, my MANI man. @Overtime, you’re RIGHT if DHow had being around in the 90s dude would just be another center and wouldn’t dare call himself superman. Today though everyone loves him and praises him for getting 13rbs and 2.8bpg? COME ON SON even Bogut put up 2.5bpg and he is nowhere near DHow physically and athletically.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Dwight Howard: Pure Domination, 10 shot attempts at a time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Also, I love how all the season previews site that “the Magic are only 2 years removed from their Finals appearance” as if it’s some huge accomplishment.
    The Cavs are only 3 years removed from a Finals appearance!

  • showtimeizback

    The correct order accounting for past experience, playoffs success, accounting for quality of teammates, etc…..

    4. Kevin Durant. Had a horrible playoffs vs single coverage. Artest has never ever shut down any of the top 3 like he did Durant. The second best player on his team, was arguably the best pg in Turkey and was far better than anyone on the heat, not named wade.

    3. Kobe Bryant. If you cant tell by my name, i am a laker fan. at this point kobe is only 3rd best player in the league. in a single series, kobe can still be the best player on the court, but over the course of a season he is too old to go hard the entire time. He is a winner and the most clutch but the next two are almost equally as clutch and are younger.

    2. D Wade. He carried the heat in 09 single handedly. Last year he beat the Celtics one game single handedly. Dwade can score at will and has a much better mid range game than lebron. he is an equally willing passer. best shot blocking guard in the league. If it were just him and bosh, i would consider there team to be like the 08 lakers, and wade would make everyone think he is the best player in the league.

    1. Lebron James. Had a horrible summer in terms of PR. had a bad series vs celtics, and then with KD dominating in turkey, people are beginning to like him. However, Lebron is still the King and most dominant player in the league, especially over the course of an 82 game season. It will be interesting to see how he plays when the ball doesnt go through him every single play. but he gets to the rim at will, his jumper and other facets of his game are developing and he is angry. He will be playing mad. Watch out when you play the heat.

  • Ronald

    What’s the point of refrencing numbers of HOF players? Is SLAM putting up a list of potential HOFers? The guy is freaking only 24 years old. I actually think this year he’s going to avg more points because of Duhon. I think he severely missed Turkoglu throwing him lobs off drives, Nelson whilst a good PG misses easy lob reads due to this height.

  • showtimeizback

    Same comment just with spaces to make it easier to read and a little extra tid bit for Kobe.

    The correct order accounting for past experience, playoffs success, accounting for quality of teammates, etc…..

    4. Kevin Durant. Had a horrible playoffs vs single coverage. Artest has never ever shut down any of the top 3 like he did Durant. The second best player on his team, was arguably the best pg in Turkey and was far better than anyone on the heat, not named wade.

    3. Kobe Bryant. If you cant tell by my name, i am a laker fan. at this point kobe is only 3rd best player in the league. in a single series, kobe can still be the best player on the court, but over the course of a season he is too old to go hard the entire time. He is a winner and the most clutch but the next two are almost equally as clutch and are younger. If you have any doubts about kobe or think he is getting by on name, understand he has been injured for a while. Look to the beginning of last season, before the finger injury and while pau was out. He was flat out dominant. Posting up and shooting a career high field goal percentage. with bynum gone, expect more of the same once he is healthy.

    2. D Wade. He carried the heat in 09 single handedly. Last year he beat the Celtics one game single handedly. Dwade can score at will and has a much better mid range game than lebron. he is an equally willing passer. best shot blocking guard in the league. If it were just him and bosh, i would consider there team to be like the 08 lakers, and wade would make everyone think he is the best player in the league.

    1. Lebron James. Had a horrible summer in terms of PR. had a bad series vs celtics, and then with KD dominating in turkey, people are beginning to like him. However, Lebron is still the King and most dominant player in the league, especially over the course of an 82 game season. It will be interesting to see how he plays when the ball doesnt go through him every single play. but he gets to the rim at will, his jumper and other facets of his game are developing and he is angry. He will be playing mad. Watch out when you play the heat.

    I feel like they might make the order as follows 4. Durant 3 Wade 2. Kobe 1. Lebron just because kobes rings.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    JTaylor21: So you didn’t read anything I said, or you just didn’t have a good argument for it so you skipped it?
    Yes Howard would be an all-star. Not an every year all-start, but probably every other year all-star. And yes, Howard is as good of a defender as Olajuwon and Robinson and Shaq. Rule changes have stunted exactly how much of an impact a center can have.
    Just, like, learn actual basketball or something.

  • The D Train

    Wait a minute…a center’s defensive ability cannot be measured solely by their per game averages for steals and blocks, right? I can’t imagine that someone who watches/plays/knows about basketball would ignore the fact that a physically imposing center, acting as a deterrent, is a major defensive benefit for the team that possesses said center. And don’t forget about altered shots. You can say you’d like to see more out of Howard’s offensive game, but I think you’re picking nits if you argue that he doesn’t rebound or defend enough.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Juk is speaking a lot of truth right now. Big men are really limited now a days… except for goaltending lol. Check Lebron + block!
    @Gabe, I was being sarcastic dude!

  • rand33p

    5.Dwight
    4.Durant
    3.Wade
    2.LBJ
    1.Kobe

    If kobe isn’t number 1 and wins his 6th does that mean he’s number one for sure next year? GTFOH if kobe aint number 1

  • rand33p

    Dwight changes the game on defense like few in history…seriously whats the over/under on DPOY awards for him? 6?… if you don’t think so you don’t know basketball

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Dwight Howard’s dominance over the league is quite obvious. His team is a title contender because his wings can shoot and he absolutely dominates entire teams on defense. Just because his numbers aren’t comparable to pre-2000 centers doesn’t mean his impact is less realized. Teams are outside-in oriented rather then inside-out, which immediately diminishes block numbers. Rebounding numbers for individuals will obviously be lower with the slower pace and increased focus on 3pt shooting. Everyone that judges a guy by stats, and makes their case using just stats, your cutting about 60% of the equation out and acting like you have a solid argument. Dwight is the 5th best player in the league because adding him to your roster immediately makes your team a conference championship contender, unlike Melo, CP, Deron and everyone else ranked below him.

  • Michael Whyte

    Cosigning the f*ck out of @showtimeizback. Someone with sense has finally spoken up. Lebron is the best individual player in the NBA, the man is too dominant. I have great respect for Kobe, he is the best player on the best team (pau gasol was pushing for finals mvp). If kobe gets 1. and lebron 2. i wont be disappointed. But for everyone out there who thinks Kevin Durant (the great scorer who got shut down in playoffs) is better than LBJ wade or kobe, we can no longer talk Basketball.

  • JTaylor21

    Jukai, yes I read your comment but chose to ignore because it was a big pile of BS. There’s NO way that Howard is in the same league defensively as Hakeem, Deke, and DRob, NO WAY JOSE. The reasons why DHow’s defensive numbers pale in comparisons to those guys have nothing to do with rules but everything to do with those guys just being BETTER defensive players. Even if DHow wins 10 DPOYs he’ll still be inferior to those guys. So you’re telling me that if you had to pick one player to defend the rim for a GM7 you would have a hard time deciding between DHow and anyone of those guys????????

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Dwight will win 10 dpoy awards. And lead the league in boards and blocks for as long as his health will allow.

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    It’s crazy that dwight doesn’t change his shot to shoot from a higher point. Look at Hakeem’s shot he shoots it almost over his head. A little less than Garnett. When the tall dudes shoot it like that, it’s unblockable! Come on Dwight, change that shot or your fadeaway would still get blocked.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    NO matter what anyone says about Dwight, he is Shaq’s size with David Robinsons athletic ability (not coordination). He would be a great defender in any era.

  • The Philosopher

    I’ve believed for the past two years that Howard will be one of The G.O.A.T. defenders at his position.
    He probably already is among them.

  • The D Train

    Howard’s main defensive weakness is that he fouls too much. Remains to be seen whether he’d get the same fouls called against him in an era where the game was refereed differently, but you cannot completely discount him when mentioning the best defensive centers of the past 30 years. A player’s defensive aptitude is based largely on how the game is refereed. If Artest played in the 80′s and early 90′s, he would have been an absolute defensive force, even moreso than he has been this decade. If Howard could bump and tussle a bit more, he’d stay in the games longer, hence, he’d have more chances to block shots. If Dream or Robinson played today, they’d most likely run into similar foul issues like Howard. The game today is about guys like Lebron, Pierce and Kobe jumping into defenders and “creating contact.” They would do the same thing to Hakeem or Robinson that they do to everyone else. Howard may or may not be as good a defender as Dream or Robinson, but you cannot dismiss it out of hand.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    JTaylor, Dwight must have f**ked your girlfriend or something because you are just plain hating right now. Dwight is easily in the same league as Hakeem, Admiral, and Shaq. Offensively? Not even close. But the dude is the best defender in the league right now, bar none. And your quote “Even if DHow wins 10 DPOYs he’ll still be inferior to those guys.” simply demonstrates to me that no amount of facts or logic will sway your opinion on anything. You are a pathetic debater who’s basketball knowledge is surpassed by the average second grader. Stop thinking your own opinions are better than everyone else’s and actually consider opposing view points.

  • JTaylor21

    For all you guys claiming that the reason why DHow’s defensive numbers pale in comparison to other greats is due to fouls and the way this era is officiated are DEAD WRONG. I’ll use a few shot-blockers from the 80s/90s to make my point. Take a guy like Eaton, during his prime shot-blocking years he avg. about 3.6 fouls a game but still had 5.6, 4.6, 4.3, 4.1, and 3.8bpg seasons. DHow on the other hand avg. less fouls per game (around 3.2 fouls a game for his career) and avgs. less blocks. Hell even Hakeem got up into 4fpg a couple times in his career and avgd. more fouls (3.5) than DHow. So what I’m getting at is that even in the so called toughest era where people claimed that officials called less “tick tack” fouls, shot-blockers were called for MORE fouls than guys like DHow get called for today. The fouls excuse is bogus and invalid, plain and simple DHow can’t hold a candle to past defensive GREATS!!!

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    JTaylor: Okay, I’ll try and explain to you why Howard’s numbers are lower than the average 90s HOF guy, and I’ll try to use smaller words for you since I don’t have any handpuppets to explain my point.
    And I wont even brush on anything NBk already said, which is common sense.
    You see, charges and the restricted area are killin today’s center. Back in the day, if you ran into a giant massive seven foot tall monster and he took that ball and swatted that out of the park, it was a block. That’s changed today, and that mostly revolves around the mindset of the restricted area. If there is contact in the restricted area during a drive, no matter how ticky-tac, the refs call it a foul. This has caused two things:
    1) Lowered the amount of blocks a center can get because there are more fouls called, since the refs are calling more contact fouls
    2) causing centers to leave outside the restricted area so they don’t get cause on drives
    If an offensive player plows into a center at full speed with his head down and shoulders out OUTSIDE of the restricted area, it’s an offensive foul. If it’s inside, even if the person is just sitting there and the offensive player lowers his shoulder and football tackles the guy, it’s 50/50. Actually, it’s more probably a personal foul.
    It’s forcing centers to play farther out. The farther out one goes, the less rebounds they can get and the less blocks they can get.
    Not to mention, many blocks Robinson and Olajuwon got in the past would be called fouls now.
    Not to mention, with more refs calling offensive fouls, Howard can step out of the restricted zone and draw charges. Isn’t there a defensive benefit for him to do that?
    Once again, I wont even touch on what NBK said how centers like Love and Whiteside and Okur now love to play ridiculously far away from the basket to draw other centers out. Oh, and 3-second violations are actually CALLED nowadays, unlike in the time of Shaq. There are so many obvious reasons why Howard’s numbers aren’t the same as the 90s HOFers.
    But when you factor the five or so reasons I gave you in this post, you realize that his numbers are ridiculous for this day and age. Who else puts up the numbers he does while providing the same great man-to-man post defense? Answer: No one.
    I’m not making excuses for his offense. It’s awful, and in the days of HOF 90s centers, dude would be lucky to break 15 points a game on 50% shooting. He’d be locked shut.
    But his defense is top notch.
    And if you want to quantify, I’d take Howard defensively over Olajuwon and young Shaq, and I’d take David Robinson JUST SLIGHTLY over Howard.
    Thanks for playing.

  • http://kb24.com DreXnaW21

    Kobe is better than LeBron i’ve said this a million times

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    And that’s why Jukai is one of my favorite Slamonline contributors. A good argument backed by actual evidence that addresses someone else’s point directly. Thanks Jukai.

  • The D Train

    JTaylor is the MASTER of using CAPITAL LETTERS to attempt to PROVE his opinion is the FINAL word, and everyone else is DEAD wrong. Jukai attempts to once again use reason and LOGIC when “debating” JT, but you ARE wasting your time. I have NEVER, not a SINGLE time, read anything from JT admitting he is wrong, or THAT someone MAY have a valid POINT. He believes he is INFALLIBLE, but comes off as more INFANTILE than ANYTHING else. Let him have his say, then ignore his LUNATIC ramblings and just laugh at his idiocy. Trust me, he’s good for more than a FEW laughs if you don’t take his inane ramblings too seriously.

  • JTaylor21

    Juaki, PLEASE refer to my 7:21 post because it dismantles the “more fouls are called today” argument. When guys like Hakeem avg. 4 fouls per game for a couple of seasons, 3.5fpg and above for almost every season and Howard hasn’t even come CLOSE to avg. 4fpg or even gotten above 3.5fpg, you can NOT use that excuse anymore as to why DHow defensive numbers can’t match up to past greats. With less fouls called on him per game; meaning he’s on the court longer, shouldn’t he at least come close to their BPG numbers? Food for thought; Josh FREAKING Smith and Larry Nance avg. MORE bpg for their career than a guy you would choose over Hakeem (a top-5 defender of all-time) WOWZER!!

  • http://www.redraidersports.com Nicolas Fleming

    Jukai, so you are still saying that Olajuwon would beast Howard? I mean you do remember what happened to David after he won the MVP and had to guard Olajuwon? I will say that Dwight is an amazing athlete that kills opposition on the defensive end, but were he to play in the 90′s, he wouldn’t be the defensive star that he is today because of players named EWing, Robinson, Olajuwon, O’Neal, and he would be even less of an offensive threat. All I am saying is the next four on this list have potential to be top 5 at their position of all-time, and no matter how fun Dwight is, no matter how much charisma, a slam-dunk title never propelled anyone to the forefront of the NBA.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    co-sign Juk’s and me and my room mate are laughing at the hand puppet comment!

  • JTaylor21

    See there’s a difference between you guys and I. I state stats/facts in my argument while you clowns continue to throw shots without adding anything to the argument at hand. I’m looking at you DTrain; what the HELL did you just add to the argument except try and fail miserably at an attempt to talk sh*t. Every-time always complaining and bit*hing like a female on her pe*iod; JTaylor this, JTaylor that, if you don’t like what I’m saying deal with and skip over my comment, otherwise stop pouting. CHILDREN PLEASE!!

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    This is a list ranking the projected performance of the players for next season – not the results from the past few seasons or the next ten years, but NEXT season. Dwight will almost certainly lead the league in rebounding and blocked shots, be in the top 5 for field goal percentage and lead his team to one of the best records in the league while anchoring one of the stingiest team defenses. Melo, CP3 or DWill will not do anything as relevant as mentioned above, so this is a great spot for Dwight. Don’t focus on what he can’t do, or worry about how he compares to previous 5′s; Appreciate the man’s game, particularly his defense and rebounding.

  • Quantumphysix

    No no no.You are all crazy. 4. Wade, 3.Kobe, 2.LBJ, 1.Durant!!! Book it…

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    I didn’t like the write-up but I think that’s the right spot 4 D.H. Best center in the league with no rival, plus his team is doing pretty well.
    I haven’t noticed it b4 but JT is right, his rbds and blcks pg are kinda low, but that’s the best in the league, so it is the rules as Juks (who usually has good points) suggested or is it just that there’s no great rebounders and shot blockers in the league nowadays…
    Anyway, Shout out @ JT21, Philo (my main men) & AllenP (can’t wait 2 read ur next post).

  • BBaller

    The NBA is need of more quality big men, its the reason i was first started watching the game. Their power, size and most importantly their skills were unique to any sport.It is evident by this list how shallow the pool of bigmen is that only 1 player( Gasol) in the top ten has any polished low post moves! What the f@#k has happened. D Train may be on to something when he said today’s game is catered for the 6-6, 6-8 guys to “create contact” and go to the foul line, give me the silky smooth post moves of Hakeem anyday of the decade.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    JTaylor, Jukai just stated stats and facts. Without using hatred, or arrogant comments.

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    @Jukai – You’d take Howard over Olajuwon? Man, you obviously didn’t watch the man play or you don’t understand the game! If I was creating an all-time starting 5 I would actually take Olajuwon over Russell. Even if we’re only talking about defense, forget the offensive numbers which dwarf Howards, but on defence Olajuwon was a maestro. Great footwork and positioning, perfect timing, quick leaping ability, strong in the post and always fighting for position, great awareness and was constantly talking to teammates. Dwight is athletic and plays great D, but not on the same level as The Dream. It is still early days for Dwight and in 10 years I could change my mind, but for now, not even close.

  • The Philosopher

    Shout out @The Fresh Prince of Nsam.

  • JTaylor21

    Much love to The Fresh Prince, my other main man. I see ya, keep doing your thang. You just made my point for me because I’m NOT saying that DHow is a bum, he’s obviously the best defensive center today but to say that he’s in Hakeem, Deke, DRob’s and Eaton’s league is downright LUDACRIS.

  • The Philosopher

    Olajuwon is the better defender.
    He used to pick point guards’ pockets.
    Howard is still high echelon, though.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    @JTaylor21: Did you ever think… just stop and think for ONE SECOND… that Howard doesn’t have more fouls because he purposefully AVOIDS fouls by not trying to block as much in the restricted area, as well as being pulled out of the paint by centers who spread the floor with outside shooting?!?!
    It’s not that it’s easier to foul so Howard gets more fouls. It’s that it’s easier to foul so the centers of today have adjusted for that to foul less. It’s the way of things bro. Accept it.
    @Nicolas Fleming: All I’m saying is that Howard is on the same defensive level as the rest of those HOF centers. The only centers I’d take defensively over Howard are Russell, Robinson, Mutombo, Chamberlain… Gosh, maybe Mourning, but that’s it. I’d even take Howard over other defensive STUDS like Eaton and Wallace.
    Howard is a top-ALL TIME defender.
    He just sucks offensively.
    In the 90s, Howard would be an athletic but shorter Mutombo. A super fantastic defensive threat with no offensive skills to go to.
    But yeah, Olajuwon would still beast him.
    @God in Basketball Shoes: Agree to disagree. Maybe it’s cause Olajuwon’s masterful offense blinded me from his defense, but I have memories of him straying too far on switches and biting on a lot of fakes. You could be right, Olajuwon was a champ, a LUDICROUS ball thief for a center and he holds so many defensive records it’s mind boogling. But going from what I’ve seen, I don’t think he’d make it in my top-5 all-time defensive centers.
    Sorry.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    And Eaton was one of those guys who could probably play Shaq and Kareem straight up but be totally worthless against players like Cowens and Issel. Dude had no mobility at all. Have a guy like Willis Reed taking 18-footers and Eaton’s out of the game.
    Not saying that Eaton isn’t a top-5/top-10 defensive guard. But using him as a shining example of defense isn’t… the best thing.

  • http://www.redraidersports.com Nicolas Fleming

    @Jukai: I was just making sure and for the most part agree with everything you have said. And had Howard played in the 90′s, he probably would have focused even less on the offensive end and may even better defensively than he is now…is that possible?

  • http://www.nbaballhog.wordpress.com God in Basketball Shoes

    @Jukai – It’s kind of like Jordan being reknowned for his offense so much that people forget his defensive accomplishments. Good point about the fakes and switches, though I feel that Howard is not so much better in this area, particularly on switches on high pick and rolls. I’ll agree to disagree but I reckon that if Howard and Olajuwon played one-on-one at their recent sessions, Howard would struggle to get a bucket while Olajuwon would score quite easily. And that’s the 40+ year old Olajuwon, not the man in his prime.

  • Michael Whyte

    comparing dwight to hakeem is an insult to one of the best centers of all time!

  • BBaller

    Jukai Those are extremely valid points about today’s game.Glad you said it.What do you think has caused this directive, was it motivated by the new age fans wanting dunk fests or just the evolution of game in regards to players being faster and the Euros playing deeper.Also i agree the fouls today are being called way too easy,No blood no foul, i think raising the foul limit is not the best idea to combat foul trouble either.More fouls will be committed.

  • JTaylor21

    @Jukai, I used Eaton as an example based on blocks and the way he used to shut-down the paint. Also that he averaged more fouls per game than DHow but still put up way better defensive numbers. For you to say that you would take DHow over a 7footer that’s in the Top-10 all-time in steals while being 1st in blocks is mind-boggling. What is your excuse for why shorter guys like Josh Smith and Larry Nance avg. more blocks per game over their careers than DHow? Take your time, I’ll wait…………

  • Josh

    There are players ranked below Dwight that can play both ends of the court. Just sayin.

  • The Philosopher

    They come in more from the weak side.
    I had to.

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    And Jux, I usually like ur points, but I have 2 agree with Mike Whyte, at this point of his career, u can’t compare Dwight 2 Hakeem man, no way! Dwight 2day is what they call in French “un borgne au pays des aveugles” (i.e an man with one eye in Steve Wonders country).

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    BBaller: It was just to speed up the game.
    JTaylor: Josh Smith started out as a better shot blocker than Dwight Howard. It simply has to do with developing defensive skills faster. That wont last. It could very well be next season that they switch places. Plus, Josh Smith is one of the best shot blockers in the GAME right now, but Dwight’s killed him the last two years. Killed.
    Nance came into the league three and a half years older than Dwight and didn’t take as long to start averaging two blocks a game. Start counting Dwight at 22 till 24, and Dwight averages WAY more blocks than Nance does. Plus Nance played in the same error where getting blocks were easier. The Larry Nance comparison was a very bad example. Josh Smith was better, but that’s just because Josh Smith came into the L blocking better at a young age than Dwight did. Right now, it’s not even comparable.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Is there anyone besides the philosopher who thinks JTaylor has ever made any kind of logical point? Dude, look at the arguments Jukai made then address them, don’t squirm around and find some stupid fact that is beside the point to latch on to.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    JTaylor: Also, I wish you’d stop comparing average numbers for Dwight, considering he came into the L three years younger than Hakeem and four years younger than DRob. Let’s compare their careers:
    Howard: 13.2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2.8 blocks
    Hakeem: 11.4 rebounds, 2 steals, 3.4 blocks
    DavidR: 12.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 3.9 blocks
    So Howard, at the same age as Hakeem and DavidR, is getting about a block less in an age which is VERY HARD TO GET BLOCK SHOTS… but still out rebounding them.
    Hmmmmm.
    Waiting on you buddy.

  • The Philosopher

    @Caboose:
    Calm down, “Guns of The Navarone.
    I was answering JT’s question on how Nance and Smith had more blocks, or whatever.
    I said, “because they come in on the weak side more than Howard does”.
    That is supporting Jukai’s argument, not JTaylor’s.
    Look, you are exposing yourself as one who lacks reading comprehension, and more greatly, one who does not know basketball well enough, for you would have been able to better decipher my comment. Jukai did.
    And Jukai, he can defend himself like he is doing just fine. He does not need you to back him up on anything.
    Finally, JTaylor has his moments, and he is holding his own, right now.
    Hater.

  • Michael Whyte

    i bet you blokes cant wait to start watching some BALL all this back and forth debate is doing my head in.

  • JTaylor21

    Good point Juaki but do you really think that DHow will ever come close to avg. 4bpg like those guys did? It’s highly unlikely because he hasn’t shown he’s capable of such feat so-far. Also DRob was 24 the same age DHow was last year when he put up 12rpg/4bpg and 13rpg/4bpg the next (rebounding between DHow and those guys are closer, so it’s a moot point). I also want to address when you said Howard “doesn’t have more fouls because he purposefully AVOIDS fouls by not trying to block as much in the restricted area” that’s a joke right? I’ve watched countless magic games and trust when I say that dude goes up to block more shots than anyone in the L, he even tries to block the kind of floaters Rondo uses. So to use that as an excuse is invalid because why wouldn’t he try to block every shot he could knowing that’s his bread and butter.

  • JTaylor21

    @Jukai, I know that you’re going to bring up the “there’s more fouls called today than in the past” argument to counter mines. So I’ll reply before you even get that chance, go back and read my 7:21 post and you’ll see that I stated that great shot-blockers like Eaton and Hakeem were whistled for MORE fouls per game than DHow has ever come close to in a season. Contrary to popular believe shot-blockers had it tougher on them in terms of officials being harder on them when it came to calling fouls than players today. I love the 80s/90s just as much as anyone else but this is just another LIE about less fouls being called fabricated by people when claiming to just how tough and better those eras were compared to toady. There’s a reason why 80s/90s greats MJ/Malone are #1 and #9 in all-time FT attempts.

  • BBaller

    There you go JT, no nasty comments about others, a compliment to another writer, a Drob reference ( always scores well with me) and supportive points for your arguments, you see you can do it when you want to.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    JTaylor: It’s not about Dwight trying to block shots, it’s about body position. Maybe I misspoke in my last post.
    Notice how a lot more block shots today either come from behind or come from weakside help. Very few block shots are blocked straight on. Gone are the days of Eaton blocking Jordan straight up, or Chamberlain jumping straight up in the air and stopping Gus Johnson’s dunk with such force that it throws out a disk in Gus’ back.
    You would argue that it is because centers are worse shot blocks. I get that.
    I am saying that centers no longer do that because that’s a foul. If a center goes straight up and blocks a shot straight on, but causes some body contact, a ref sees the contact and sees the restricted area and calls a foul. You just can’t clank bodies to get blocks anymore.
    You never see Howard try to block shots like that. I bet if Howard played in the 90s, he’d CONSTANTLY try to block shots like that. In this day and age, you can’t. You gotta gather distance and jump at the ball, away from the person.
    I get that there’s a legit argument saying that floaters are more common and athletes jump higher and faster so there is more contact… but I really feel that it’s a lot about the rules.
    Also, if David Robinson improved his rebounding the next season at 25, why can’t Dwight improve his shot blocking at 25 and be closer to David Robinson?
    My point was, Dwight was outrebounding Hakeem and DRob at the same age. Rebounding is a defensive stat, see: Rodman.
    HELL let’s look at Dwight Howard and Hakeem Olajuwon at 23:
    Howard: 13.8 rebounds, 1 steal, 2.9 blocks
    Hakeem: 11.5 rebounds, 2 steal, 3.4 blocks
    I really don’t see much of a difference. Half a block more, a steal more, more than two rebounds less. Both provided the same man-to-man defense. But Howard was in an age where it was harder to get rebounds and blocks.
    That’s all I’m saying.

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    And yeah, I get it, one can look on the flipside of the coin and say there were better centers back in the 90s so Hakeem’s man-to-man D was more impressive than Howard’s man-to-man D. I’ll give you that. I’ll even give that there’s an argument, a good one, that Hakeem is a better defender than Howard.
    But Howard’s on par. He really, really, really, really is one of the greatest defensive fives we have ever seen in the league. He takes a crappy defensive team and makes them top-5 in the league. Howard would get by on his defense alone in the 90s. No, he wouldn’t he making the NBA at 50, but expect to see him representing a few all-star games and swatting shots into the stands.

  • JTaylor21

    DAMN, Jukai that was probably one of the BEST counter-arguments ever presented in Slam history, one round of applause for that one. I agree with you on all-points but disagree with Howard is on par with Hakeem defensively. I know that DHow is the only reason why the magic are a top-5 defensive team but remember that the Rockets weren’t too great defensively on the perimeter also and Hakeem’s defense was the BIGGEST reason why they beat teams (NY/Orl) that had better all-around talent. There’s a big difference between being a great team defender and a great all-around/iso defender, DHow’s a great team defender but Hakeem was an equally great team defender as he was one-on-one. There are only a handful of guys in history that you could say were both; Hakeem, Pip, mid20s MJ even Russel was a good not great iso defender (Wilt always did him dirty when they played). Anyways I understand your point on DHow but him and Hakeem on par defensively NAH!

  • The Philosopher

    Good sh1t, y’all.

  • Michael Whyte

    Hakeem > Dwight.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Slow Clap for JTaylor… and Juk’s.

  • Ronald

    Someone is using JTaylor’s name to post for him. Obviously.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    JTaylor: I guess the big difference in our opinion is our idea of how good Hakeem/Howard are at iso defense. I actually think Howard is a ludicrously skilled iso defender. The only person who ever gives Howard trouble on the post is Yao Ming, who is over half a foot taller and is the most skilled center we’ve seen in 15-years (Duncan is a power forward, y’all)… and I don’t think Ming has over thrown anything over ~25 since Howard’s been an adult.
    It’s really hard to gauge how great of a post defender Howard is, because quite frankly, there’s no one to challenge him in the post. He lock down guys like Perkins and an increpid AARP Shaq, but that’s really nothing to write home about. Howard is constantly drawn out of the paint to guard the likes of Camby and Big Z and Horford, it’s hard to talk about playing straight-up post defense anymore. Even guys like Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman, classic post defenders, they’re more ‘old reliables’ than offensive spark plugs.
    So, yeah, it’s hard to really say how great of a post defender Howard would be, and it’s impossible to plant him square in the 90s where the post-play warriors ran free.
    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. If you don’t, it’s all cool, I’m just happy you sat down and backed it up with fact and respectable opinion rather than caplock and curse words. Hat tip to you, JTaylor. You’re fun to debate with every once in a while.
    I’ll fully admit I may be underrating Hakeem defensively, so I’ll keep that in mind, maybe go back and watch a few Rockets games of the 90s.

  • http://dsjfklf.com Jukai

    *classic post players, not classic post defenders.
    Gotta proof read.

  • rich

    good ranking the rest is pretty obvoius depending if u think kobe is better than lebron. i think lebron is cuz he was even more clutch than kobe was this year. i cant wait to see a 4th quarter miami heat comeback its gonna be outrageous.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Jtaylor, for your 9:51 comment, I would like to apologize for some comments I have made. That was a good concession. I would like to see more commenting like that.

  • BBaller

    “Lebron is more clutch than Kobe” another reason why i’ll stop at Position 3 on this list

  • slimshady

    hey! all you haters that think that superman is overrated….THIS LIST TOP 50 HAS BEEN SOLID SO FAR!

    4.wade
    3. LeBron
    2. Durant
    1. Kobe

  • ajke

    Dwight definitely got the HOPS, but never had a decent Post Move.. That’s why he is NOT EFFECTIVE in the Finals against the Lakers.. He can’t just wait under the basket and catch the ball and dunk it – that’s the Magic Shaq style of play when he was a rookie.. Bogut is not as exciting as Dwight but he is a more talented Center.. I don’t think he can be described as dominant, (he was owned by Chris Paul by a facial dunk).. And I don’t think that Dwight can be lined up with the best centers, because he is way out of the list.. but he has the potential. maybe later on his career he can improve his game and earn his spot..

  • Jerry Nice

    Anyone that says Lebron is any lower than 2 is delusional. Even putting Kobe above him is ridiculous at this point since Lebron has been the much better performer the last two years, but it’s also understandable since Kobe has won the last 2 championships. But otherwise you have no point of reference on how either of the other two could be higher. Yea Wade won the title but regardless if he was the reason they won it or not, they wouldn’t have even been there if it were not for Shaq. As for Durant being #2, yeah maybe, if Lebron is at 1. At this point is a more talented player than Kobe, but hasn’t really proven he deserves that spot. Rankings are based on now and not the future. So for now it still falls between Kobe and Lebron.

  • lazaruz

    i would call you crazy to take anyone but lebron over dwight. so you are crazy…. defense obviously is not as important as offense, which mind you he brings a lot of offense. his footwork is not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. and he gets points of garbage plays unlike all the guys ahead of him.

  • rich

    if you had to make a combo of 2 players on the top ten it would be dwight and some perimiter player. dwight is the most valuble big man in th L and he is gonna show off his post game like he has in preseason so get ready ppl

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    It’s harder to block shots when most offense comes from the perimeter. This is the first era in NBA history that has been the norm hence lower block numbers. It has nothing to do with fouls or early centers being better at blocking shots. Come on as soon as mark eaton was brought up as “better” at blocking shots then Dwight a smAll alarm should have gone off telling you there must be a logical reason

  • max

    @Jukais post @9:27 When we look at their production at the age of 23 we have to take into consideration that Hakeem played with a healthy Ralph Sampson,so he couldn’t accomplish that many Rebs and Blocks.Howard instead is the lone ”true” big in the Magics 4-out/1-in offense.

  • max

    Sorry,I correct my post: Howard is the lone ”true Big” in Orlandos D so he has more chances to grab boards.Don’t know why I was talking about the 4/1 offense by Orlando.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Really have to throw in my 2 cents. It’s really unfair to compare Howard and Hakeem due to such difference in eras. Hakeem’s era was a flat out big man wonderland. We’re facing a bigman wasteland at the moment, with most of the best players at the SF and PG positions. Different rules and different circumstances make it impossible to judge.

  • Ugh

    God, there really is a paucity of big men in the NBA today, isn’t there?

  • TR

    I’ll throw this out there just cause I can:
    Dwight will NEVER develop post moves or a serviceable jumper. Never.

  • KB8toSG8

    @TR……co-sign. But I’ll think he’ll develop just one go-to post move…..

  • TR

    @KB8toSG8… A serious dropstep, or even a proper jump hook, not that running one footed monstrosity he chucks at the backboard, and he’ll be alright. Not saying I don’t enjoy watching him play!

  • Jetballer

    I think its gonna be:
    1)LEBRON: Im 100% sure on this one, he’s in his prime and has been the best player in the league for 2 years. (plus, if i remembered correctly, SLAM ranked him #1 last yr as well)
    2)KOBE: Kobe is getting older, but still the best sg in the league
    3)WADE: Because theres four players left, and hes the 2nd best sg
    4)DURANT: Tough call between Wade and Durant, but im taking experience and a championship over potential.

  • Ouse

    Thanks Matt. Finally an article in this list that really looks at the players skills & also his position within the list.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jukai’s comment on Hakeem’s defensive ranking made me say:
    WTF

  • Blackphantom

    @JamestheBalla, you’ve just proved in this thread that you’re an idiot, JTaylor wouldn’t say ridiculous b.s. like you did in ur third comment on this thread

  • http://sdklff.com Jukai

    Allenp: Thanks for your indepth response, much appreciated.
    Do people really believe Hakeem was on the same defensive level as Russell and Mutombo and Mourning and DHow and Chamberlain? Because if they do, they better believe Hakeem is a top-7 player all-time.

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