Howard has been responsible for this modest jump and when combined with an image which is on the rise again and some impressive numbers, does he have a chance at making the All-Star team for the first time in three years?
For some this question may seem irrelevant, especially as we are still in December. But at 31 years of age, Howard is further away than ever in his quest to win a championship.
Dec 5, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) reacts to a play with guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) in the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
If he wants to be considered a Hall of Fame player one day (and really, who doesn’t?) then his individual numbers and All-Star appearances are what will get him there.
Free throw shooting (44.7 percent, still a horrendous number, but a career high), rebounding numbers (collects 36.2 percent of his team’s defensive rebounds) and defensive plus/minus (3.4, career high and better than both Howard’s 2.3 and Whiteside’s 1.3).
Drummond is also durable (played in 336 of a possible 400 games since being drafted), consistent (PER never been below 21.2, is 21.3 this season) and is playing on the best incarnation of the Pistons that he ever has.
If Whiteside was to be voted in, there’s every reason to think that it would be Drummond sneaking in behind him, as his back up.
You could begrudge neither of those guys there spot on the roster either.
You might think that Dwight Howard’s potential exclusion from this year’s All-Star game doesn’t matter.
But in his 13th season, Howard needs to begin thinking about his legacy. He has made great strides in fixing his tarnished reputation with the Atlanta Hawks.
But in terms of receiving recognition for his efforts, the days where he was an automatic choice to be an All-Star have vanished.