It’s been an unusually quiet season for Dwight Howard, who can opt out of his current deal after the season and become an unrestricted free agent, as the Rockets center is averaging only 12.7 points per game, the fewest since he averaged 12 as a rookie in 2004/05, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle observes in an explanatory piece. For his part, Howard, as Feigen points out, has had no complaints about his seemingly diminished role in the Rockets’ offense.
“To us, it’s important that Dwight serves his role,” Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Dwight’s not a one-dimensional player. Dwight knows how to impact winning in a bunch of different ways. He’s not a guy who has to score the basketball to be effective. As long as he understands how important he is to us and his teammates let him know how important he is to our success, I think he’s confident he’ll go out and do what he’ll have to do to help us win.”
Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- Zaza Pachulia, in a Q&A with Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype, said he initially had mixed feelings regarding his trade to the Mavs from the Bucks, but warmed up to the idea rather quickly. “Here it’s a totally different situation for me,” Pachulia told Sierra. “I was one of the oldest guys in Milwaukee, now I’m coming here and I feel like I’m one the younger guys. So many veterans around me.”
- Nicolas Batum believed the Blazers, as they were constructed last season, had at least another run in them, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders writes. Things changed, of course, when LaMarcus Aldridge decided to sign with the Spurs. “I understand his choice,” Batum said. “He had done a lot of things for the Portland franchise, but to get a chance with the Spurs to win a ring right away? I think a lot of people would have done the exact same thing. He wanted to go to another place to win a championship, and I respect that. I’m not mad about it, but I was surprised. It was a good run, and it was fun, but it’s time to move on.”
- Mirza Teletovic is enjoying a strong bounce-back season with the Suns after inking a one-year deal following his issue of blood clots, Howard Megdal of USA Today Sports details.