Hawks center Dwight Howard believes he can play for close to another decade, according to Michael Lee of The Vertical. Now in his 13th season, Howard seems to have overcome the back and knee problems that limited him in Houston. He played just 41 games two seasons ago, but has been healthy since arriving in Atlanta. “When I first came in the league, I thought I was going to play forever,” Howard said. “I still want to play until I’m 40, but I thought I was going to play basketball until I was 60. That’s what happens when you’re young. Once you get older, you realize there are lot of things that are important.” The contract Howard signed with the Hawks this summer runs through the 2018/19 season.
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards have adopted a “track everything” policy to protect the health of Bradley Beal, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The star shooting guard, who re-signed over the summer on a five-year max deal, has a history of injuries that limited him to 55 games last season and 63 the year before. He was placed on a minutes restriction last December after doctors discovered early signs of a stress reaction in his lower right fibula. “They have to literally drag me off the floor sometimes because I’ll continue to shoot, I’ll continue to work out in practice sometimes when I shouldn’t be,” Beal said. “They do a good job of watching me.”
- Devin Booker, a breakout star with the Suns during his rookie season, lobbied the Magic to draft him in 2015, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, which held the fifth pick, opted for Mario Hezonja, who averaged 6.1 points and fewer than 18 minutes per game as a rookie. Booker cracked the starting lineup in Phoenix, averaged 13.8 points per night and was a First Team All-Rookie selection. “It was funny,” Booker said. “They had a top-five pick. Obviously, I wasn’t being rated that high. But I’m good friends with [team owners] the DeVoses because we’re both from Grand Rapids, Mich. I was telling them, ‘I need to come to Orlando.’ But I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It was a long shot. I’m happy where I’m at.”
- Bismack Biyombo has brought the shot-blocking and energy that the Magic expected when they signed him this summer, Robbins writes in a separate piece. Biyombo is averaging 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes to go with 9.0 points and 13.3 rebounds. “To me, it’s about knowing your job and doing your job, really,” Biyombo said. “I don’t do anything out of what I know I can’t do, and I do what I think the team’s gonna need to win a game each and every night.”