Trade rumors are swirling around the Boston Celtics, however rarely has such an outlandish rumor reached the ears of Celtics101. The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly considering sending center Dwight Howard to the Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo. Both players are somewhat unknown entities, with questions about their game, health, and character all having been raised over the last few seasons. However, even with Rondo's stock at an all time low, the Celtics should want no part of this deal. Dwight Howard is not the answer for the Celtics.
Now there is no denying that a Rondo for Howard swap would make the Celtics better this season. One player is playing and the other isn't. It's that simple. There is also the fact that adding Howard would make Boston an absolute menace defensively. A back court of Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee combined with a front court of Howard and Kevin Garnett would be almost impossible for opposing offenses to break down. However, even with this improvement, the Celtics still wouldn't be a championship contender. Forget the fact that, due to injuries and subpar play, Howard's stock is as low as it has ever been right now. Even when he was at his best D12 was never the kind of player that you can build a team around. He is an excellent defender and a fantastic rebounder. However you cannot build an offense around Dwight Howard.
A close look at Dwight Howard's offensive game should tell any fan all they need to know. He does well in the pick and role, on the fast break, and he is good at hitting the offensive boards and coming up with garbage points. But his actual half court game is pretty limited. He has a few post moves that he can execute, but he can't really do anything else. He still can't hit free throws, he doesn't pass well out of double teams, and does not counter well at all. The Orlando Magic learned this the hard way – if you are going to build your offense around Dwight Howard you will struggle to score.
Thus adding Howard would only make the Celtics better at what they are already good at, and worse at what they are bad at. The Celtics are winning games now with strong defense and quality bench play. They run away with games, however when they play good teams that also play strong defense, and the game stays tight late into the fourth quarter, the Celtics are going to struggle. Quite simply they don't have a go to guy on offense anymore. For years Paul Pierce was that guy, but his days of carrying the load are quickly drawing to a close. Howard would make the Celtics better defensively, but they are already good defensively. What they really need is another guy who can create his own shot. Rondo was starting to become that guy. For proof look as his performances against the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, when he almost single handedly dragged the Celtics to victory despite the team playing terribly around him. But Rondo is gone for the year now, and Howard would not even come close to filling that void.
The bottom line is, down the stretch against the best teams, there are going to be times when you play perfect defense and Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony score anyway. True contenders have to be able to answer on the other end when that happens. The Celtics struggle to do that right now, and adding Howard really wouldn't help. Defense is important, but you can't win unless you score. With Pierce's career winding down the Celtics need to find another go to guy. In this writers opinion that guy is Rondo. It isn't Howard. There are questions about Rondo's character, but there are way more about Howard. Sometimes one must fight fire with fire, but this isn't one of those times.
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