*If you haven’t voted yet for the Chris Paul/Carmelo Anthony matchup, voting is still running until 1 P.M. EST today*
I have to get this off my chest – Dwight Howard should have been this season’s MVP. (Cut to multiple commentors charging at me with an axe.)
Anyway, back to the task at hand. You know, this whole one-on-one thing.
Dwight Howard may be simple to figure out in five-on-five, but otherwise he’s pretty much just controversy wrapped in conflict. Will he get traded? Will he re-sign with Orlando? Did he deserve last year’s MVP? At the Dime office, these questions were cast aside in favor of two other ones:
1) Where should Howard rank in the one-on-one tournament?
2) How far can he go?
Some had him in the top five. Others had him at No. 16, maybe. Some had every and any guard bouncing him in the first round. Other had him beasting everyone, bulldozing his way to the basket on each possession. No. 10 was the eventual choice – I wanted to say consensus, but it was nowhere near that.
Derrick Rose may be quick enough to get by Howard, but who’s to say the 7-0 foot monster won’t swat away his feeble layups from behind? If Rose settles for pull-ups, do we really trust him to knock down a bunch in a row? When Miami forced Rose into exactly that, they walked away a 4-1 series winner. Look for Dwight to back off and dare Rose to beat him from distance.
Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a point guard finish above, around, beneath and through big men like D-Rose. Jeff Foster and Josh McRoberts gave him the business in the first round of the playoffs – elbows, shoves, trips and some not-so-friendly verbal jabbing. None of it mattered. I would argue that D-Rose’s unparalleled ability to contort his body while maintaining mid-air balance is on par with any other elite skill in the NBA. Yep, just as impressive (although clearly not as big a game-changer) as Chris Paul’s passing, Ray Allen’s shooting and Kevin Love’s rebounding. So when Rose challenges the Defensive Player of the Year at the rim, I’m not so sure who’s coming out on top.
Commentors and Dimers alike have battled, desperately pursuing an answer to another basic, yet crucial question: Can Howard back down his man all the way to the rim? There’s no entry pass, no stand still moves and everything is off the dribble. If Dwight could rely on his turnaround J, I’d be singing a different song. If he doesn’t make it to within three feet of the hoop, I’m afraid we’re looking at a miss. Then again, he could pull a T-Mac and throw down a ferocious self-alley-oop off the check. Because in one-on-one, pretty much everything is in play.
Jay Bilas: “Another great matchup! Rose seems like the pick because of his explosiveness and ability to get by Howard. But, I am going with Howard in this one. He is just so physically dominant. Howard will be able to block some of Rose’s offerings, limit him to jumpers in certain situations, and Howard can back him down into the lane. Dwight isn’t Bob Lanier, but he can do something similar to what Lanier did when I was a kid in the NBA 1-on-1 games.”
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