(Editor’s note: Today’s post will (hopefully) be a part of three part series outlining potential Spurs trade targets as the trade deadline nears)
Strength: Rebounding and scoring
Spurs fans probably know a decent amount about Howard from his seven year tenure as a Dallas Maverick. Howard played a prominent role on those Maverick teams that posed a consistent threat to the Spurs supremacy. He averaged 15.3 points per game and six rebounds per game in that span. Howard isn’t a efficient scorer (.397 FG%) and his offensive style — dawdling, isolation heavy — isn’t conducive to the Spurs offensive philosophy. As far as I know (which admittedly isn’t much), Howard isn’t an adept cutter. That skill set — and the ability to space the floor with the occasional three-pointer — would be of great value. Of course, Howard struggles in both facets.
Howard can rebound though. The Spurs don’t place too much significance on offensive rebounding but I’m pretty sure they’d gladly welcome Howard’s above-average rebounding prowess to the team. His offensive rebounding and total rebounding rate are slightly above average at the small forward position.
Weakness: Defense and efficiency
This year — consistent with his career arc — Howard has struggled guarding opposing small forwards. His defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) is 108; slightly worse than his career average of 105. Per 48 minutes, small forwards score 18 points against Howard. And they do so at an efficient rate (.544 eFG%).
I’m a little worried about Howard’s shooting percentages. I believe he’s a capable scorer but the Spurs don’t need another scorer. They have Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for that specific skill set. The Spurs also have a lot of shooters — Matt Bonner, Kawhi Leonard, Richard Jefferson, Gary Neal — so I don’t feel like Howard fills a pressing need.
I’m not a fan of this deal at all. The deal doesn’t tangibly improve the Spurs. They need an athletic power forward that can protect the rim, defend the pick-and-roll and guard more athletic players on the perimeter if necessary. Howard doesn’t accomplish any of those objectives and the Spurs would lose a player with a reasonable contract (Green is a restricted free agent next year though) that fits the mold of the organization.
Howard offered this gem of a quote after admitting to using marijuana.
“I think a lot of people have that problem [smoking marijuana],” Howard said. “How that could stop me from getting drafted, though? How many guys in the lottery smoke pot? The weed thing, just about everybody smokes.”
Well, does that sound like a future Spur to you?
Tags: C.J. Miles Danny Green Gary Neal Jamaal Tinsley Josh Howard Kawhi Leonard Manu Ginobili Matt Bonner Minnesota Timberwolves Richard Jefferson San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker Utah Jazz Wayne Ellington