History always repeats itself, especially in sports. While the NBA’s summer of free agency captivated the sports world, I began to think about free agents of the future. I was immediately drawn to Dwight Howard (partly because I’m a Cleveland fan who was trying to avoid ESPN, and partly because I was planning my fantasy draft). The similarities between Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard are stunning. They were all: drafted out of high school, top 5 lottery picks that went to small markets, the focal of a team that became a championship contender, and eventually forced to leave…well not all of them. As of now Howard has yet to leave the franchise that drafted him. However it seems like the writing is on the wall, if he plans on winning a championship.
If you look closely at the progress of the Orlando Magic, you will see that they are following the same pattern that all small markets do. All small markets have the same pattern. They draft a franchise player and surround him with average roll players, eventually the team tops out as a championship contender, and over the next few years they slowly begin to digress. Somewhere in between that process the team hopes to sign their franchise player to a long-term deal. This is the problem that Dwight Howard is beginning to face. Will he leave Orlando? I don’t know. Some before him have decided to stay (please see Dominique Wilkins, Patrick Ewing, and Reggie Miller).
I think he should leave. He doesn’t have to take his talents to South Beach, but I don’t see him winning a championship in Orlando. The formula to winning a championship is clear. If you don’t get to play for the Celtics or the Lakers, you have to find a way to play with another Hall of Fame player. If Orlando cannot create that formula within the next three year, it would be wise for Dwight Howard to leave Orlando. I wonder how he would look in a Boston Celtics uniform?
Comedian and Writer