Perhaps the biggest story of the NBA offseason has not been whether or not LeBron James and the Miami Heat will continue their dominance and cruise to their third straight Finals title, rather the free agent saga that was Dwight Howard stole the show. Now Howard and his new employer, the Houston Rockets, are setting their sights at unseating the Heat and becoming NBA champions. The big man is already talking about accomplishing such a feat.
With training camps set to start around the league soon, Howard sat down for an interview Friday healthy and confident about his team’s potential as well as his own abilities. “We have an opportunity to do something special if we stay together and stay focused,” Howard said Friday on the eve of Houston’s training camp,” Dwight explained.
Howard being at full strength is a major factor for the Rockets success in 2013, he was hampered by offseason back surgery in 2012 while with the Lakers, and at times appeared to be playing slower than he had in the past.
Excited to be back to 100 percent and to be playing in a new uniform, Howard told the media why his recovery is so huge for him; “for me, being healthy, I think it’s going to bring back a lot of the things that I’ve done in the past.”
Howard will not be the lone superstar on his new Houston club, he will be forming what looks to be a superstar duo with James Harden. For a man who has previously referred to himself as Superman, Howard perhaps has finally found the sidekick that has benefited nearly every superhero besides the alter-ego of Clark Kent.
At the Toyota Center for his introduction to the Rockets, Howard was already joking around with Harden, referring to him as ‘Moses’ to tease the talented guard for his now famous beard.
One of the only obvious issues heading into 2013 for the Rockets is going to be how they pace their offense. An up-tempo unit last year, the team now plans to use both Howard and fellow big man Omer Asik together, which will surely make it difficult to run the court.
However, Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons all excel in the open court and are guys the team is going to want to get in space often. How the Rockets eventually balance these strengths will go a long way to determining their immediate successes.
Howard is confident this team will be able to emphasize its strengths in 2013 and contend immediately with the Miami Heat for an NBA championship. He was not able to get a ring with Kobe while with the Lakers a year ago, and sounds hungry heading into the new season. It is far too early to tell if he is correct, but the Rockets at least have the right attitude going into the new season.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express