Dwight Howard took a major step toward repairing his reputation last season with the Lakers, and now the Sixers are giving him a chance to move even further in that direction, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. After a brilliant start to his career that included eight consecutive All-Star appearances, Howard devolved into a journeyman who is now on his sixth team in six years.
He became known as a player who was more interested in joking around than winning and had disputes with teammates and coaches along the way. But Howard showed he could still be serious by earning a roster spot after signing a non-guaranteed deal with L.A. and contributing to the team’s title run as a big man off the bench. Philadelphia is counting on a similar performance as he becomes a back-up and mentor to Joel Embiid.
“Showing him some of the things that I learned over the years, the pitfalls, the things that bring you down,” Howard said of his expected relationship with Embiid, “and also that really (elevate) you up. Not just doing that through words, really through my actions.”
- The Sixers have high expectations for Shake Milton, who moved into the starting lineup midway through last season. During a Reddit chat with fans Friday night, new team president Daryl Morey talked about the potential of the second-year guard (Twitter link from Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire). “I think the league hasn’t caught up to how good Shake can be,” Morey said. “It was one of the first things (new head coach Doc Rivers) and I spoke about after I joined — we are excited to see what he can do this year.”
- The signing of Aron Baynes should improve the Raptors’ defensive rebounding, states Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Assessing areas where the team got better and worse during the offseason, Murphy notes that Baynes has the greatest defensive rebounding impact in the league since the 2015/16 season. Alex Len, another free agent addition, grabbed 25.2% of defensive rebounds last year, which would have been the best rate on the Raptors.
- Sagaba Konate, who played for the Raptors‘ G League affiliate last year, has signed with PAOK Thessaloniki of the Greek A1 league for the rest of the season, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Konate began the season with Casademont Zaragoza in Spain.