Dwight Howard’s Sour Grapes Get Impressionistic

With the 2009-10 NBA regular season coming to an end, a second MVP trophy in as many years seems to be a lock for LeBron James.  Winning the award last season, James has gone on to win every Eastern Conference Player of the Month award thus far, while leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA-best record of 58-16.

And while James continues to put up numbers that even make John Hollinger blush (more on this later), Orlando’s Dwight Howard continues to compare himself to LeBron James and simultaneously play the disrespect card while he’s not being considered for the award.

His latest soundbites come in the form of impersonation, as Howard allegedly attempted to sound like current NBA analyst and always free-spoken Charles Barkley.

“LeBron James is the best player in the world,” said Howard.  “He’d be the best golfer that ever golfed — if he golfed. He’d be the best twitterer if he twittered. He’d be the best Facebooker. LeBron James can do it all.”

“LeBron James has the best fans in the world. Ever. LeBron has the best shoes, the best hair dresser …”

And just to hammer home the point that this was a Charles Barkley impression, Howard continued by brining in pseudo panelists.

“I’ve seen him. LeBron James … listen, listen … LeBron James … he is everything. He’s everything that anyone could imagine as an athlete … Listen, Kenny, Ernie, E.J … let me tell you something … listen, LeBron James … LeBron James just epitomizes NBA players. He got the smile, the power.”

Obsessed much?

Howard’s talents cannot be overlooked.  With the current game turning to more of a running style with more athletic power forward-types playing center, the one they affectionately call “D12″ can do it all.  He can run the floor with the best of them, but is the most dominant center in a half court offense.  His defensive numbers speak for themselves as Howard is likely going to become the first player in the history of the NBA to lead the league in blocks and rebounds in more than one season.

But is that enough to be considered for, or even win, the NBA MVP award?  Howard’s coach Stan Van Gundy was quick to jump to his big man’s defense.

“It is just an offensive award,” said Van Gundy. “People who vote just don’t factor in defense, rebounding and how effective Dwight is defensively. I think it’s unfortunate. If the criteria was how many possessions are you affecting at both ends, if that’s what people thought about, then Dwight would be at the top of the league.”

But do they only factor in offense?  Player Efficiency Rating (or PER) factors in a player’s all-around game, including rebounds, blocks and steals.  It also adjusts for a team’s pace, so if Howard is the most dominant player on both ends of the floor, and his team goes to him consistently – especially in ‘clutch’ situations – his numbers will be adjusted to compensate for slower play.

Howard’s current PER is 24.2 – lower than his 2008-09 mark of 25.4.  LeBron James currently boasts a PER of 31.7, exactly in line with his mark from last season’s MVP campaign.  Hollinger rates anything above 30.00 as a “runaway MVP candidate.”  He even took time yesterday to disucuss James’ current season, one that features a career-high mark in assists (8.6), field goal percentage (.505), and true shooting percentage (.608).

Once again, a hallowed record (at least in my world) is in play for James as we enter the final eight games: He could surpass Michael Jordan’s 1987-88 campaign for the greatest single-season PER in the modern era. I have to add the “modern” qualifier because the league didn’t keep track of things like blocks and individual turnovers before 1973-74, rendering the PER exercise a guessing game for players from previous eras.

James’ current PER of 31.81 is second best in “modern” history, and with eight games left (of which he’ll probably play only five or six), he retains an outside shot at breaking Jordan’s all-time mark of 31.89. At the very least, he’s going to be within hailing distance.

It’s hard to argue with someone getting nearly unanimous consideration for the MVP award when he is putting up what could be one of the best single seasons in the modern era of the NBA.  Offensive-focused or not.

There is no denying that Howard’s abilities on the defensive end are nearly insurmountable.  But while the MVP is considered to be offensive (at least by Van Gundy and Howard), there is a reason why the league also gives an award for the Defensive Player of the Year.

But when it comes to the 2009-10 MVP award, regardless of what voice anyone should choose to impersonate, James has Howard edged in nearly every other metric including the most important one: wins.

(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Direct TV Panama CIty FL can get you all of Dwight Howard’s games.

  • creative

    GOD I CANNOT WAIT TO BEAT THE MAGIC

    I want to see that Ron Jeremy look alike cry about EVERYTHING as we crush the souls of howard/ron jeremy/petrius/VC. I will laugh my butt off while VC hoists up attrocious 3’s and shoots the magic to a loss 5 games in a row.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Wait, LeBron isn’t on twitter? I thought that one guy who was taking compliments for being LeBron and retweeting everything about LeBron actually was LeBron. Hmm.

  • JNeids

    That article by Hollinger blew me away yesterday. Really helped put in perspective exactly what we are witnessing right now.

    As for Howard, go eat a whamburger and some french cries and drink it down with a Wheineken. It really is a shame that he can’t be a bigger man about this. If Lebron wasn’t having one of the greatest individual seasons OF ALL FREAKIN’ TIME, then sure, he would be getting a little more props. But give credit where credit is due. Be content with 2nd place. At least last year he was playing the disrespect card for his TEAM…

  • Mark

    This makes me so happy. As if LeBron and the Cavs needed anymore motivation to crush the Magic, well, now they’ve got it.

  • Clown Baby

    Hold the phone here Denny….so you’re saying the tweets I’m getting from Princess Diana and Jesus M. Christ may not be the real deal? INTERNET (shakes fist at sky). That Hollinger article is fantastic. Anyone with an ESPN Insider account or knows how to get a bootleg copy should check it out.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    Dear SVG,
    They have an award that factors in defense. It’s called the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Enjoy it and shut your cake hole.

    Sincerely,
    Everyone Not Living In Orlando

  • Mark

    By the way Scott, where did the “soundbites” come from? Is there a link or video?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Tim Potvak discussed them on [NBA FanHouse]

  • ben

    I thought Dwight was pretty funny to be honest. I didn’t read as much malice into it as the article seems to suggest. I lol’d.

  • Charlie

    Stan Van Gundy < Paul Bearer

  • MacNip

    @ ben – behind every sarcastic comment in a layer of truth. Believe me, he is irritated by the thought that Lebron is better than he is

  • DK

    I hope that we can make it to the Magic if we have to play the Hawks and the Bobcats before we get to them…this year’s playoff run (if we play those two teams) will be significantly more difficlt, especially when the Lakers get beat by the Nuggets and we have to play them in the Finals…

  • Clown Baby

    I thought Howard’s riff on Brandon Bass was pretty funny. Howard, while whiny, seems like an alright guy which really frustrates me. I really want to dislike him but he seems like one of the few guys that in the NBA that is grateful to be where he is at. I DEMAND YOU GET INTO A DOMESTIC DISPUTE DWIGHT HOWARD!

  • Jim

    Yes, Howard is about to be the only player to lead the league twice in rebounds and blocks. It is worth mentioning, however, that blocks first became a statistic in the early 1970’s. This means Russell and Wilt never had a chance to accumulate blocks as a stat. I can tell you with utmost certainty that if blocks were around in the 60’s, Howard would be the third player of all time to lead the league in both categories.

  • ben

    @MacNip: Yeah I agree. He’s jealous/irritated. Who wouldn’t be?

    But I don’t catch the same vibe from him as I do other players who are/were jealous and irritated of Kobe or MJ.

  • JK

    Dwight Howard: The worst best player in the NBA.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ MacNip – there’s truth behind sarcasm? I’m going to a very dark place to reconsider my life for a while.

    @ Clown Baby – Domestic dispute? Howard plays for the Magic, not the PUKESPOOP SQUEELERS! /Derp

  • Matt#2

    “LeBron James can do it all.”

    The problem is that it’s not hyperbole.

  • Charlie

    Stan Van, you just made yourself sound soooooooo stupid.

  • Clown Baby

    Denny – True. Therefore I demand that Howard be sanctioned for PED abuse.

  • http://www.brian23.com Brian

    Dwight Howard doing someone else’s rehashed schtick/impression – shocking.

  • cninja

    howard makes it really easy not to like him.

    there cannot possibly be a more annoying player-coach combo than Dwight howard and SVG

  • AMC

    @ DK – with K-Mart likely out for the season, I don’t think Denver’s got the horses to get by the Lake Show.

  • The Other Tim

    If LeBron wanted to have more blocks and rebounds than Dwight Howard, he would.

    Fact.

  • DK

    @AMC – I think they’re gonna be a tough out once Karl gets back on the sidelines…Melo seems to be on a mission to make it LBJ and Melo…

  • stin4u

    I don’t get how this is a shock to Dwight Howard….Lebron is clearly a more well rounded player, and Dwight is more of a roll player (not in the classic sense obviously). But thinking your better than a guy who could play YOUR position plus the other four with ease AND dominate? Don’t be dumb……

    @DP – point made.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    I don’t think something like this bothers LeBron in the least. Howard has a big mouth, he likes the attention plus he’s like a big man child so I can’t see this being any extra motivation for LBJ. LeBron has demonstrated the tremendous focus he has by not letting things like this distract from his goal of a championship. Think about how many times something like this has happened and how you hardly ever, never, hear LBJ talk about it. I think that fiasco with the dunk tape had more to do with the people around LBJ then him.

    Regardless we should all know LeBron will let his work on the court do his talking. I think it demonstrates alot of restraint on his part that he doesn’t “talk” more off the court. On the court is different. In the heat of battle all things are fair game including relatives and girlfriends in the stands.

  • BW

    I thought it was pretty funny… pretty good impression of Sir Charles, lol. D12 is a great player and has an argument to be under consideration for MVP every year probably, but as long as LBJ is around I don’t see him getting one :)

    Can’t wait to destroy the Magic in the playoffs!

  • Jack

    People are way too confident about our chances against Orlando.

  • Matt

    Howard is such a d-bag. I mean, have you seen his Ed Hardy ads???

  • Max

    eventually Dwight, the voters will do for what yout they did for Barkely in 1993 and Mail Fraud in 1997. People got tired of voting for MJ, decided, “We cant just give it to him every single year” and they gave it to someone else.

    Don’t tug on Batman’s cape Superboy.

    Also, he may be a nice guy and it may be tough to hate him, but thats fine because there are plenty of other loathesome things about that franchise. Fom their stupid arena sound effects to VC, the laziest, most injury prone, me-first, now that I got paid i dont need to try so hard “star” of the post MJ era, to their washed up porn start coach (seriously, couldnt they wheel John Holmes corpse out there) to euros hitting 3 pointers they have no business making…

    I’m not sure I have ever disliked a team as much as I dislike the Magic. What I dont want to admit is that is because they scare me the most.

  • Jeff

    I agree with Jack. Although, I think they are worse than last year. Everyone knows that the playoffs are different. I’ve heard Howard and his impression of the Round Mound of Rebound, and I think it’s pretty good. I find it a tad inaccurate to Barkley’s over all feelings towards Lebron. Anyone remember the last 3 years where all he did was say Lebron wasn’t that good? Now he is on the bandwagon. Now, if we could only get Kenny to commit…

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    Orlando won’t be a pushover in the least but lets not discount the other potential opponents either. It’s kind of ironic that the Cavaliers are having to rest people because given their play the last few weeks I’d say they are far from playing their best basketball. Add in Z returning and possibly Shaq and no one should feel that they’ll sweep their way into the ECF again.

  • Desiree

    Just when I started to really like Dwight Howard and believed he had class (given the way he dealt with the “Superman” drama with Shaq), he has now disappointed me and broke my heart. I now have one thought for Dwight: “LeBron is the best; GET OVER IT!”

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    Howard forgot to mention that James even makes better commercials than he does. That ESPN Superman bit is L-A-M-E.

  • stin4u

    I..for one…..nominate Dwight for the most free flowing elbows award, it could be a little bronze statue of him throwing bow’s in the face of 3 guys trying to rebound the ball. There’s an award he would win yearly.

  • Turk

    Dwight Howard has rapidly risen up the ranks of my most hated players in any sport.

  • Introns

    The only way I could hate Dwight Howard more is if he played for Boston.

  • DCBucks

    Howard gets MVP for moving screens and elbows to the face. Otherwise, he’s just not that fun to watch. Dunking is cool unless you’re nearly as tall as the rim, then it’s just BORING.

  • Larry

    Dwight reminds me of Dennis Rodman, except that Dwight is better looking, WAY less weird, has a sense of humor, and a tolorable personality. And dispit wanting to like him a lot, I hesitate. Dwight, also complains like Dennis and runs his mouth a little too much for his own good. If he doesn’t like the way the system works, that’s one thing. But to trash the biggest draw in the game (not to mention the best ever player to put on kicks) is just stupid and doesn’t help Dwight’s cause AT ALL. Doubtless LBJ will have something to say about all this stupidity when next the meet on the hardwood.

  • DCBucks

    @Desiree. The only reason he handled the “superman” controversy the way he did, is because he’s afraid of Shaq. Howard is the 2nd biggest wuss in the league, the champ there is KG.

  • BillTheHammer

    Dear Dwight, You look like Tarzan, but play like Jane. Regards, Aaron Gray, Kendrick Perkins, Brenden Haywood, Shaq “I own you” O’Neal and everyone else who has punked you.

  • Tsunami

    Dwight’s so insanely valuable to that team that they won won game 6 against the 76ers (@ Philly) by 25 without him.

  • Steve R

    Howard has never put up a 20pt 10reb season. Geez how can he act like he deserves anything? Freakin Brad Daugherty put up a 20 and 10 season against guys like Akeem, Pat Ewing, The Admiral, Smits , Duckworth, Shaq, etc.. Who does this guy Howard play? Get over yourself Howard, your dominant in a depleted position and your numbers still are nothing special.

  • Pingback: While We’re Waiting… More on LeBron/Dwight, All-Americans, and Previewing the Tribe | WaitingForNextYear()

  • jboogie

    Dwight Howard cannot take over games like LeBron. Not even close. It’s not rocket science Stan.

  • Nathan

    Haha Brad played on probably the worst teams ever so of course they’re gonna give it to him..

    And guess who didnt win ECF Player of the month for march…ding ding Lebron James.

    If orlando bounces clevland (Again) Then you guys will be “waiting for next year”

    Love the read though, dont like the Lebron Homerism

  • Just me

    For the one who said Dwight doesn’t average 20pt, you should know that Dwight is averaging 18 points with an average of 7 to 8 touches a game. Obviously free throws help with the average but it’s the same for many players. That to me is pretty impressive. Regardless, he is a very important player to the Magic squad and I hope he have a great career. And sometimes I think his personality is misunderstood to those who don’t follow him. He doesn’t seem like a kid who cares all that much to what other players are doing he just genuinly seem to have fun and enjoy being a player.

  • Just me

    As for Dwight not being needed to close out games, if you watched the Magic games they very rarely have them. Dwight’s defense is good enought to make those last minutes in the 4th quarter meaningless. But he is surrounded by great shooters who carry the burden of closing games with him.

  • Jason

    I actually think Dwight Howard is awesome. This article really paints him to be a douche but when you listen to him there is absolutely no malice. The guy is a straight beast. No he isn’t as good as Lebron but to hate on him is just plain stupid. If I was him I would be throwing elbows too. The guy gets beat on nonstop every night and because of his size and strength it goes overlooked. He is easily my fave player in the league after Lebron.