NBA / Nov 1, 2010 / 10:00 am

Dwight Howard needs an enemy

Every great story has a great conflict. Every great conflict has at least two opposing sides. If you’ve picked up your copy of Dime #60, you can read the editorial by Austin Burton where he brings up the primary problem in Dwight Howard‘s growing NBA legacy: Howard does not have a rival.

For all of Dwight’s greatness, it is easy to downplay his accomplishments due to his lack of worthy opponents. Howard has no one to measure just how good he is. No Bill Russell to his Wilt Chamberlain, no Patrick Ewing to his Hakeem Olajuwon, no Duncan to his Shaq.

However, help in the form of competition may be on the way. Early into the new season, there are a few true centers that are playing well and may be able to fill the unoccupied spot as Superman’s arch-enemy.

JOAKIM NOAH — The kid is rising, and fast. People overlook Joakim because he doesn’t show up on the highlight reel, but just check his stats: 16.5 points, 18.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a night through his first two games. Noah just signed a five-year extension to stay in Chicago, and if the team has truly taken that step up to the next level with the addition of Carlos Boozer, the Howard-vs.-Noah battle will become a great postseason rivalry.

ROY HIBBERT — After a lot was made about his progress over the summer, Hibbert lived up to the high expectations with an Opening Night coming-out party against Duncan, dropping 28 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in Indiana’s opener. Through three games he’s averaging 18.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.7 blocks. At 7-foot-2, Hibbert has a lot of skills, but so far has been slept-on like a twin-sized mattress in a college dorm room. He seems to be putting it all together now, but his mediocre team might hold him back from becoming Dwight’s Lex Luthor.

GREG ODEN — Don’t call him a bust yet. Over the weekend it became official that the Blazers wouldn’t be signing Oden to a contract extension, so whether his future is in Portland or with another team, he still has a chance to become the All-Star center his talent promises. Oden has been productive when healthy, and if he gets some good luck for once, Howard-vs.-Oden could be a battle of the titans.

ANDREW BYNUM — Another young talent who has trouble staying on the court, but does at least possess the raw ability and potential to become a top rival for Howard. Bynum does technically own a head-to-head NBA Finals win over Dwight from 2009. Don’t count out another Bynum/Howard matchup in the 2011 Finals.

BROOK LOPEZ — The centerpiece of the Nets has put up the numbers on the reg to be an entertaining rival for D12. Through three games he’s averaging 24.7 points and 6.7 boards for a team that can only improve following last season’s disaster. Lopez is durable, having yet to miss a game in his career, and his fundamentally-based game presents an interesting clash of styles against Dwight’s sheer athleticism and power.

DEMARCUS COUSINS — The Sacramento Kings rookie still has a lot to learn, like how to stay out of foul trouble, but the skills are there. Cousins has averaged 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in his first three pro games. At 6-11, 270, he can meet Dwight eye-to-eye and pound-for-pound.

Threats can come from anywhere, but Superman can use his microscopic vision to see this group coming after him. With his superhuman strength, he should be able to fight off these potential nemeses. Until this day comes, it seems only by default why Dwight has an “S” on his chest.

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  • http://www.soundcloud.com/daddygreenbeats Lurk Nowitzki

    The first week of the NBA has already given better highlights than all other sports combined. That crazy Derek Rose shot, Blake Griffins oop that was his 1st bucket as a pro (and he almost hurt himself on lol), Rudy Gay’s breakaway dunks, Kidds 3/4 court shot, Hakim Warrick’s tomahawk dunk…..I could go on and on.

    NBA >>>> NFL >>>> MLB >>>> everything else.

    I’ve never gotten NBA League Pass but Im gonna get it cuz this looks 2 be one of the greatest seasons ever.

  • QQ

    I can see Brook Lopez as the closest thing to being called Dwight’s rival. That is if Brook improves to the point that he is clearly the leader of a legit team. Until then, it’s Dwight versus the no-names.

    And Duncan vs Shaq? COME ON. Critics have been saying for years that Wilt is still better than Shaq because Shaq in his prime was matched up with the Rik Smits and over the hill Mutombos while Wilt battles Hall of Famers. Shaq and Duncan NEVER matched up in their primes. They may guard each other for a couple of plays, but they never matched up. Who guards Shaq then? And over the hill (you see a trend?) David Robinson.

  • Bruce*Leroy*Green

    Dwight Howard’s enemies are toughness and the free throw line

  • http://www.celticslife.com/ FLCeltsFan

    Kendrick Perkins is Howard’s nemesis. Perk may not be playing right now, but no one in the league plays Howard better one on one than Kendrick Perkins.

  • nizzio

    Agree with Perkins

  • control

    “For all of Dwight’s greatness, it is easy to downplay his accomplishments due to his lack of worthy opponents. ”

    It is very ironic that you follow that remark with a list of unskilled scrubs, glassmen and Brook Lopez. If that list is the list of guys Dwight has to define himself against…well, he ain’t ever going to be defined very well. For all the people jocking on Joakim’s ugly ass (he’s the ugliest guy in the NBA, for anyone who has never seen him), the guy really isn’t that skilled, and gets beasted on a regular basis. Jason Kidd could probably back Joakim into the low post and beast a shot on em.

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Well, so…

    Howard’s greatest enemy is going to be named Brook?

    How about we just say his kryptonite is the FT line?

  • hahns

    microscopic vision? maybe telescopic vision you mean?

  • AL

    so where is okafor…??

  • Detroit Dave

    Dwight Howard’s enemy is Jameer Nelson and his lack of skills in “properly feeding the post”.

  • Detroit Dave

    I agree with #4, Perkins has good defense against Dwight and Rasheed Wallace was the best. I remember when Sheed was with Detroit and while he was shutting Dwight down on defense he was giving him little advise and jewels during the game. Kinda like a big brother.

  • alex “Robocop” murphy

    What about Andrew Bogut?

    Bogut is the second best defensive center in the league.

  • JBaller

    @12

    I agree, Bogut was quickly becoming the second best center in the league before his injury. It’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back; hopefully it’ll look better than him bouncing off the floor with a smashed arm!

  • QQ

    And yeah almost forgot about Perkins. A VERY good defensive center. But him ‘stopping’ Dwight owes more to that great defensive system that Boston employs more than Perk’s skills. I’m not saying he sucks defensively, I’m just saying that their system highlights his defense.

  • Promoman

    @ alex “Robocop” murphy

    Damn good point. He’s top 5 overall pre-injury and should get back at that level or beyond it seeing as how his injury didn’t occur to his back or legs.

  • sh!tfaced

    this guy is just too damn nice, he needs to develop a mean streak… or he’s gonna blow a gasket and lose it one day with that goody-two-shit attitude of his… wipe that stupid smile off your face, man… ugh

  • bigkev

    how can you leave out bogut if you are gonna put greg oden.

  • gilford

    No Bogut nor Horford?

  • mo.B.bad

    co-sign stunnaboy, it’s all about free throws.

    if he can hit them regularly then he almost automatically goes up to 25ppg, minimum.