Jason Whitlock explains why he thinks the criticism of Dwight Howard is ‘justified’

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Stephen Jackson and Dahntay Jones join Jason Whitlock and Jason McIntyre to discuss why Dwight Howard is struggling to find an NBA team that wants him.

JASON WHITLOCK: I remember that Dwight Howard that carried Orlando to the NBA Finals and has been eight-time All-NBA player, eight-time All-star-- this guys got a decorated career, and I think I understand why nobody wants this guy. He's the big guy that acts like he's Nate Robinson. You know, you can be Nate Robinson, the jokester, play-around guy when you're undersized, and people don't have great expectations.

But when you're Dwight Howard, you come to the league with that body, you're drafted number one, you have a chance to be the Bill Russell of this era-- the clown guy, people just hate. And I think the disrespect towards him is justified.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Well I think the biggest thing about Dwight is everyone wants him to be this big, mean, tough guy throwing elbows, slam-dunking, knocking people down. That's never been his character. He's always been the big guy that wants everybody to like him, wants to play basketball, be famous, and just be happy all the time.

And that's why a lot of teams didn't like him. Because being that big, being athletic for so long-- he has Hall of Fame numbers-- but you've got to be dominant. You've got to be dominant. And you got to show you care. He hasn't shown that. To be bounced around that much, at that size, that talented, it says a lot about his character.

DAHNTAY JONES: I think, over his career, his jovial personality has gotten away of what he does on the court. His presence is not one of which you would like as your center to be. You want a mean dog as your five-man, as your center, and he's just not that. He has fun. He has personality. He's absorbed with everything in the game except the actual competition of the game.

But I think people want him to get down to what he needs to do. And that's roll, and rebound, and defend the basket. And he wants to make post moves, free-throw line jumpers. He wants to do all the things that are not going to put him in a situation to win championships. He doesn't want to be effective. He doesn't want to do what's necessary to win. He wants to do what he thinks he should be doing. And sometimes you have to adapt to the teams you go to.

JASON MCINTYRE: I think two things stand out with Dwight Howard, guys. Work ethic, or lack thereof, and attitude. OK?

STEPHEN JACKSON: Hold up. Work ethic is not a problem.

JASON MCINTYRE: We're going to get to it. We're going to get to it.

STEPHEN JACKSON: That's definitely not a problem.

JASON MCINTYRE: He started out, Stephen, in Orlando, like Whitlock said, on fire. Took the Magic to the Finals. It was awesome. Then he started to feud with Stan Van Gundy. Then he goes to play with Kobe and the Lakers and what happened? Kobe said, this guy doesn't want to work. Let's get him out of here.

He goes, his hometown, Atlanta, bring him back. Everybody's excited. Out of town in one year. There are many reports out there that he just did not improve or try to improve. This is a guy who came into the league ready for action. Dominant right out of the gate. Did he ever get better? You know who he kind of reminds me of? Carmelo Anthony.

Came in with the championship from Syracuse. Dominant offensive player. Did he ever become that guy who makes teammates better? Who passes the ball and changes a little bit? Listen, DeMarcus Cousins never developed a 3-point shot. DeMarcus Cousins, for all we knock him, he came into the league, made three 3's in his first year. Made over 100 this past season. Dwight Howard never became that guy.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Shaq's game never changed. Shaq came in--

JASON MCINTYRE: Well, that was in the '90s.

STEPHEN JACKSON: But I'm saying his game never changed. As a big man, all he did was dunk, roll and post up. His game never changed. So you can't expect Dwight's game to change. It's not his game. And it's not his work ethic. On social media, if you look at every summer, not too many guys work harder than the Dwight. He just don't have it. It's not in his heart. It's not in him to be that guy that everybody want him to be.

JASON WHITLOCK: I thought Dahntay was arguing, it's in his head more than his heart. He won't accept the role that's perfect for him. Rebound.

DAHNTAY JONES: Roll.

JASON WHITLOCK: Play defense.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Block shots.

JASON WHITLOCK: Outlet passes.

DAHNTAY JONES: And run the floor.

JASON WHITLOCK: I was even saying this back in his Orlando days. If he would just do that and quit trying to be so much of an offensive player, he could lead a team to a championship. And he would have been perfect for Golden State. Even right now-- 32, 33 years old, whatever he is-- if he would just rebound and play defense-- because he can switch for a bit and guards some people, but he won't do it. It's his head.

DAHNTAY JONES: If he would be Clint Capela. If he would do exactly what Clink Capela does, he'd be the best out there at the center position.

JASON MCINTYRE: But listen, the Warriors, guys, took chances on Nick Young, who needed rehab and JaVale McGee, who needed to rehab his image. They will take on DeMarcus Cousins, but not Dwight Howard? That's the ultimate indictment.

DAHNTAY JONES: Younger. And Chris Broussard made an amazing point. At worst-case scenario with that pickup, you took him off the market.

JASON WHITLOCK: DeMarcus Cousins?

DAHNTAY JONES: DeMarcus Cousins. You took him off the market for another championship-level team to have him as an asset. If it doesn't work out, he's just not available to kill us because there's only two people that have killed us year in and year out. And that's DeMarcus Cousins and LeBron James. And at least then I could take one off the board.

JASON WHITLOCK: I got a different analogy for you McIntyre-- we got to be quick here-- you're comparing him to Carmelo. I think he's a totally different kind of Terrell Owens for the NBA.

STEPHEN JACKSON: No way. No way. No way.

JASON WHITLOCK: It's a different kind. He's a different kind of Terrell Owens. Great player, great talent, but just wouldn't conform to a team the way you need to to have sustained success.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Well, you was right about the Golden State comparison, because I was on that team the year they make it to the finals. They swept us. And he had four shooters outside, and he controlled the paint. If he would have been at Golden State, that would have been a good look for him, because they got shooters, and he will control the paint.

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