The Dwight Howard effect, can it be replicated?

If you take a look at the Orlando Magics roster in it's heyday, and take a look at those individual players' career, you start seeing a pattern, this is what I'm referring to as the Dwight Howard effect. a effect where players generally got a lot better on the Magics than they were either before or after (or in many cases, both.) sure, some of this is simply due to age progression and injury, but as the number of them add up it has to be more than that.

Example one, Ryan Anderson in his 5 year career so far...

08-09 NJN 13.6 PER .090 WS/48

09-10 ORL 18.1 PER .161 WS/48

10-11 ORL 19.0 PER .216 WS/48

10-12 ORL 21.2 PER .219 WS/48

12-13 NOH 181. PER .125 WS/48

Anderson went from a decent but nothing special rookie, to a star in his second year in Orlando, to what essentially were 2 super star seasons after that, where he became the darling of all analytic folks,... and suddenly reverted back to being a good but not great player in New Orleans. the change is stunning, if a player went from .090 to .125 in his 5 year from 20 to 24, this is perfectly in line with normal development curve. which make that 3 year in the middle all the more stunning.

Is this an isolated incident? look no further than old friend Rafer Alston, remember that he was the PG that Dwight took to the finals as Jameer Nelson was hurt most of that year. Alston is example one of why claiming you can't have Jeremy Lin as a PG on a contender is an absurd claim, since lets be real, anyone claiming Alston's better than Lin needs to have their head examined, since there's no logical / sane argument that can be made for Alston's case. you look at any number , you look at how their career went, there just isn't any argument. he was a fringe guy who had a peak good enough to barely pass for a starting PG, he didn't shoot well, had no ability to go to the rim (career FG % of sub 40!) wasn't a good passer, the only mildly plausible argument in his favor is that he didn't turn it over alot, which is kinda pointless when you can't do anything with the ball either.

Anyway. Alston was traded in season from our very own Rockets to the Magics in his age 32 season, which turned out to the 2nd to last year of his career. he was doing blah on the Rockets at that point, that was the trade that landed up Kyle Lowry in a 3 way. (so essentially, this was part of the moves that ended up with James Harden, yes, Rafer Alston to James Harden, way to go Morey.)

However, this was Alston's season that year

HOU 12.8 PER .088 WS/48

ORL 15.6 PER .135 WS/48

whhha? I guess this would be the #1 reason why you should be optimistic on Lin next year, because Dwight managed to make Rafer Alston, who was nearly done, look like a good PG for awhile. the guy who can't score inside the 3 line his whole career suddenly had 41% FG (and was shooting a career worst 31% from 3!) in Orlando.

A deeper look into other main pieces of that Orlando era sees similar pattern, Turkolu was toast after he left Orlando , Lewis was toast after he left Orlando (granted, this may simply be due to age. but he did have his two best win share season in Orlando.) Jameer Nelson, who literally played his entire career with Dwight until he left, suddenly went from a solid PG to a horrible one (granted, injury maybe a factor here as well. but last year was the first time he suddenly can't score at all, with his TS% falling under 50%. while most other things remained the same.)

Seeing this trend, it becomes a lot more obvious why Morey went all in on Dwight, in the SVG+Dwight era, Orlando was able to take a lot of decent / ok player and made them into great / good players . some of that might be SVG certainly, but a lot of it is clearly Dwight, in the NBA, while real stars don't tend to make other real stars better (see Lebron and Wade, their # stayed fairly similar after joining forces.) but they do often make role players better, Chalmers was a late 2nd round pick but nowadays look like a prefectly good PG for example, a lot of broken down old wings suddenly look like they drank from the fountain of youth on the Heat. But there's a pretty high chance that Dwight is in this boat.

So we would obviously need to see, but the good news is that McHale's team last year showed a stunningly good ability put together new pieces on the fly and make them work and adjust to everyone's strength and luckily for us (but not for those individuals) almost all the assistance are back, if this can be repeated with Dwight, expect Parsons to be an all star (if you think about it, Parson's essentially a better version of Anderson) and Lin to make many people eat crow. and whoever we put at the 4 will be just fine.

This is another reason why there may be some reason to rethink of trading Omer Asik, and why Morey have shown no real interest in pulling the trigger, because with Dwight + Harden, most solid role players will be able to look well above average anyway. so what you do when Dwight isn't on the floor is actually a much more serious question. since the difference between a solid guy to a fringe star around him isn't clear , Ryan Anderson was about as valuable as Rashard Lewis in those years, there's no way Anderson's really the better player . there just isn't. but around Dwight they looked similar.

How far we can go in the playoff would depend on the level of defense we can get out other guys to play. realistically, Harden / Parsons / Lin should have the tools to be able to be good defenders. but the down side is that history suggest 24/25 year old players tend to be still a bit ways from their defensive peak. but we'll see, I don't think it's too likely we win it all next year, if only because history suggest that very young teams and teams just thrown together rarely go all the way, but it is obviously very very exciting. at least the most exciting since the Yao / T-mac first year.

No cursing in title. No pirated material, such as links to online game streams. Do not cut/paste entire sections of content from other websites. Thanks.

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