This season has been a bit of a roller coaster for the New York Knicks.
After a surprising 22-22 start, the team has gone into a firm nosedive, currently sitting at 26-38 and well out of the playoff picture. On one hand, the team has found itself a star for the future in Kristaps Porzingis, on the other, they fired second year head coach Derek Fisher just before the All-Star break and have since replaced him with Kurt Rambis on an interim basis (both of which have had off-court incidents involving sex, nice!).
Seemingly every high has been met with an equal low, making this offseason a crucial one for team president Phil Jackson. Now in the second complete season of the Jackson-Era, the Knicks have made some nice strides towards becoming relevant, but still have plenty of work to do.
Today, the teams future may have become a bit more clear.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, friends within the Dwight Howard camp have been making it known that the Houston Rockets big man has interest in coming to New York and playing under Jackson.
Howard of course comes with plenty of baggage. At 30-years-old, Dwight has now had plenty of off-court drama for each of the three teams he has played for and after a variety of back issues, may no longer be worth the headache.
That isn’t to say that Howard can’t still play ball, he’s currently averaging 14.9 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and shooting 61 percent (the second highest of his career). Still though, that’s a long way from the Dwight Howard that dragged the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals once and the Eastern Conference Finals twice.
Really, the bigger concern around Howard will be his fit in New York.
In the triangle-offense the Knicks will look to run, Howard will have to be able to pass and shoot the occasional mid-range jumper, two things he’s never shown a particular ability to do. Dwight’s a decent passer but even at his best never averaged 2.0 assists a night. A bigger concern will be his ability to stretch the floor and give his teammate Kristaps Porzingis room to either slash to the rim or work the post. Howard simply doesn’t shoot the ball from further than ten feet away from the rim and even then, only 33 percent of his shot attempts come from the 3-10 foot range.
Dwight will likely be trying to get paid this offseason and the Knicks will have the cap to oblige him, but you have to question the thought process behind adding a 30-year-old big man that doesn’t necessarily fit into the offensive scheme, especially when that guy has had much-publicized off-court issues with teammates and coaches (see: Stan Van Gundy, Kobe Bryant, James Harden).
Howard is still a supremely talented player and Phil Jackson could use a win in free agency, but this might be an opportunity he has to pass on.