When he was initially skipped for the “NBA 75” Anniversary Team, 2021-22 Dwight Howard, LA Lakers reserve center, declared the win. special disappointment. Now, a former All-Star teammate of the big man came up with the free agent to defend him.
Retired NBA point guard Jamir Nelson, who formed the All-Star Team with Howard in 2009. The Orlando Magic team would face in the NBA Finals against Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and the rest of the Lakers in an eventual five-game defeat.
The 6’0″ vet sat down for an extensive chat with Brandon “Scoop B” of Bally Sports Network. When the topic of discussion turned to Howard’s loss to the NBA 75 team this past February, Nelson defended his 6’10” big man inclusion.
Here is a transcript of Nelson’s full thoughts on scorn, courtesy of Robinson:
Go to follow
It shouldn’t be a thing. It’s a top 75 in my book, isn’t it? It’s a Hall of Famer. I don’t understand how you can’t put it in those two categories. Nothing against anyone else who is a Hall of Famer or who He’s a top 75; I’m not any of those so I can comment on whatever I want and I’m not biased because he was my teammate and all that stuff – again, the guy got a double I teamed up every night, you know what I’m saying? The guy was the defense announcer. He was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year a few times, so the stats pretty much speak for themselves and I’m sure he would do to be Hall of Famer, but I definitely think he should have been in the top 75.”
Four of his Howard Lakers teammates made last season’s NBA 75th Anniversary List, which aims to celebrate the 75 best players in its history: 19-year-old forwards LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, big man Anthony Davis, and point guard Russell Westbrook. The inclusion of James, Anthony and Westbrook makes sense given the accomplishments of these players as leaders of their respective franchises, but Howard may end up having a better career than injury-prone Davis, who appears to be aging very quickly.
Joseph’s Nelson was selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft by Orlando with Howard, who was the top pick. Base played for 14 seasons in the NBA, spending eight of those with Howard in Orlando before the Defensive Player of the Year was shipped three times to the Lakers in the summer of 2012. Nelson would go on to play for Dallas. Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons. He last played in 2018.
Howard has career averages of 15.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 coins, 1.3 coins and 0.9 steals a night across 1,242 regular season competitions. He led the Magic, Lakers, and Houston Rockets into a variety of deep post-season rounds, won three Defensive Player of the Year titles, and was overall the NBA’s best quarterback for nearly a decade before moving on to a role player in the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards. Howard returned to Los Angeles in the 2019-20 season and won a title as a key role player. The tournament was a cherry on top of a great career, all things considered.
Yes, he’s had personal clashes with a variety of teammates and coaches, but that shouldn’t detract from the kind of output he had on hardwood as one of the most unstoppable low-powered two-way forces ever. Maybe he deserves the spot on Davis.
Nelson, a native of Chester, Pennsylvania, is currently the assistant general manager for the NBAGL’s Philadelphia 76ers, the Delaware Blue Coats.