Dwight Howard Is No David Robinson

Articles have been written that Dwight Howard could be the next David Robinson. For all the physical and statistical similarities among these players, I don’t think that is the case. Sorry, I have to go against the tide for quite a bit.

If we compare their stats, here’s how it looks:

 

Howard’s Career Statistics:

YR

G

GS

MIN

FG%

FT%

STL

BLK

PF

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

PTS

04-05

82

82

32.6

.520

.671

0.90

1.70

2.8

3.5

6.5

10.0

0.9

12.0

05-06

82

81

36.8

.531

.595

0.80

1.40

3.4

3.5

9.0

12.5

1.5

15.8

06-07

82

82

36.9

.603

.586

0.90

1.90

3.0

3.5

8.8

12.3

1.9

17.6

07-08

82

82

37.7

.599

.590

0.90

2.10

3.3

3.4

10.8

14.2

1.3

20.7

08-09

79

79

35.7

.572

.594

1.00

2.90

3.4

4.3

9.6

13.9

1.4

20.6

09-10

19

19

32.6

.652

.568

0.90

1.80

3.8

3.9

8.4

12.3

1.5

18.2

Robinson’s Career Statistics:

YR

G

GS

MIN

FG%

FT%

STL

BLK

PF

OFF

DEF

TOT

AST

PTS

89-90

82

81

36.6

.531

.732

1.70

3.90

3.2

3.7

8.3

12.0

2.0

24.3

90-91

82

81

37.7

.552

.762

1.50

3.90

3.2

4.1

8.9

13.0

2.5

25.6

91-92

68

68

37.7

.551

.701

2.30

4.50

3.2

3.8

8.4

12.2

2.7

23.2

92-93

82

82

39.2

.501

.732

1.50

3.20

2.9

2.8

8.9

11.7

3.7

23.4

93-94

80

80

40.5

.507

.749

1.70

3.30

2.9

3.0

7.7

10.7

4.8

29.8

94-95

81

81

38.0

.530

.774

1.70

3.20

2.8

2.9

7.9

10.8

2.9

27.6

95-96

82

82

36.8

.516

.761

1.40

3.30

3.2

3.9

8.3

12.2

3.0

25.0

96-97

6

6

24.5

.500

.654

1.00

1.00

1.5

3.2

5.3

8.5

1.3

17.7

97-98

73

73

33.7

.511

.735

0.90

2.60

2.8

3.3

7.3

10.6

2.7

21.6

98-99

49

49

31.7

.509

.658

1.40

2.40

2.9

3.0

7.0

10.0

2.1

15.8

99-00

80

80

32.0

.512

.726

1.20

2.30

3.1

2.4

7.2

9.6

1.8

17.8

00-01

80

80

29.6

.486

.747

1.00

2.50

2.6

2.6

6.0

8.6

1.5

14.4

01-02

78

78

29.5

.507

.681

1.10

1.80

2.5

2.5

5.9

8.2

1.2

12.2

02-03

64

64

26.2

.469

.710

0.80

1.70

2.0

2.6

5.4

7.9

1.0

8.5

Looking at their productions in their respective rookie campaigns, it’s easy to see that David Robinson is better than Howard.

For instance, Robinson became an All-Star in his rookie season. He averaged eye popping numbers with 24.3 points, 12 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, and 53.1% shooting on his way to the Rookie of the Year award.

Howard, on the other hand managed to have 12 points, 10 boards, 1.7 blocks, 52% shooting, with no All-Star appearance nor a Rookie of the Year award.

A lot of people will say those numbers are not a fair comparison mainly because of age. Robinson was 24 when he was a rookie while Dwight Howard made his NBA debut at 18.  That may mean Robinson was more or less more NBA ready when he came into the league while Dwight was still very young and has a lot of time to develop his potential.

For this reason, let’s take a look at Howard’s number last year at age 23 against Robinson’s rookie year at age 24. To better assess Howard’s development in relation to Robinson’s.
PLAYER
YR
MIN
FG%
FT%
STL
BLK
OFF
DEF
TOT
AST
PTS
Dwight Howard
07-08
37.7
.599
.590
0.90
2.10
3.4
10.8
14.2
1.3
20.7
David Robinson
89-90
36.6
.531
.732
1.79
3.90
3.7
8.3
12.0
2.0
24.3

This time the numbers are closer. But it tells us that Robinson was a better free throw shooter, passer, shot blocker and a better offensive player. Howard however rebounds more and shoots a better percentage from the field.

I mean no disrespect towards Howard. I think he is a great player with nice demeanor like Robinson. But Robinson separates himself from other bigs because he is a complete player and had a dominant offensive game. He even scored 71 points in a game to prove it. Howard meanwhile still relies much on his inside game with no consistent jump shot and no reliable free throw shooting after five seasons.

Now it could be the age difference. Dwight after all is only 23 and is slowly putting up better offensive numbers but Robinson’s offensive production was not a one hit wonder. He consistently averaged 20 points or more in each of his first seven seasons in the NBA.

They might have the same physique and their statistics are comparable but in the grand scheme of things, there is no comparison. Robinson played in an era when big men dominated the game. He played against some of the best big men in their prime: Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and Shaquille O’Neal just to name a few. While Dwight Howard is playing in an era where the guards are dominating the game.

In addition, Robinson was a team player.  Howard has been known to clash with Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, question coaching decisions and aired it publicly.  This type of behavior was never seen out of Robinson. Robinson was the constant pro throughout his entire NBA career.

It is nearly impossible to compare players that played in different era. If anything Howard can learn a thing or two from Robinson if he wants to better his game.  Looking for the next David Robinson is like looking for the next Michael Jordan.

What do you think? Is Howard the next Robinson or are they entirely different players that shouldn’t be compared? Leave us your thoughts.

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