Dwight Howard Admits To Not Playing Hard Because His Role Was Reduced
No one could quite put their finger on how the Houston Rockets could go from the Western Conference Finals last year to the 8th seed and eliminated in the first round this season until Dwight Howard started talking.
In an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Dwight detailed why he was disinterested in playing hard some games because of his new reduced role in the offense.
ESPN: You mentioned your season in Houston didn’t end the way you wanted. You have also admitted you were “disinterested” during parts of the year. Why was that?
Howard: “There were times I was disinterested because of situations that happened behind the scenes that really hurt me. It left me thinking, ‘This is not what I signed up for.”’
ESPN: What specifically are you referring to?
Howard: “I felt like my role was being reduced. I went to [Rockets general manager] Daryl [Morey] and said, ‘I want to be more involved.’ Daryl said, ‘No, we don’t want you to be.’ My response was, ‘Why not? Why am I here?’ It was shocking to me that it came from him instead of our coach. So I said to him, ‘No disrespect to what you do, but you’ve never played the game. I’ve been in this game a long time. I know what it takes to be effective.”’
ESPN: Some of your teammates in Houston didn’t appreciate your “disinterest.” Any regrets on how you handled it?
Howard: “My friends kept telling me, ‘Even if you aren’t getting shots, there are so many other things you can control while you are on the floor.’ And they were right. I allowed not getting the ball to affect me. That’s on me. As a big, someone who has been the focal point of the team, who is still young, who still has some great years in front of me, you run the floor, you sprint as hard as you can, you duck in, and still, you don’t get the ball. It brings you down. It sucks the energy out of you.
I think it’s safe to say Howard’s time in Houston is pretty much done.