A look back at Dwight Howard's time with Wizards: It was a total flop

Ben Krimmel
July 06, 2019 - 2:57 pm
Dwight Howard's time with Wizards was a total flop.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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It would be unfair to call his time in Washington a disaster, largely because the consequences were quite limited and it came and went without many people noticing.

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The Dwight Howard Era with the Washington Wizards came to a close Friday night when news broke he was being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for veteran small forward CJ Miles

Less than one year after his arrival on a two-year, $11 million deal, Howard was sent packing to an unknown future. (Memphis plans to waive him.)

Howard had grand ambitions at his introductory press conference in July 2018: “Today and for the rest of my career here, which I plan to be here until I retire, it’s about this team. It’s about us winning.”

“I learned Magic for eight years. Went to La La Land. Worked for a while with Rockets. Learned to fly with some Hawks. Got stung by the Hornets. And it all taught me how to be a Wizard," Howard said.

Then Wizards' president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said Howard's signing will give Washington "a much different look."

“Dwight has been known throughout his career as one of the league’s best defenders, rebounders and finishers around the rim, all areas that we needed to improve heading into next season,” Grunfeld said. “His inside presence and athleticism will give us a much different look and will open up opportunities for us on both ends of the floor.”

John Wall was a believer, too: "We know he likes to have fun, we know he likes to joke around and do those type of things. I think he's kind of locked-in and focused (now)."

"I just feel like he's just that's trying to recreate his career," Wall told NBA.com. "He's trying to change all the negative stuff people say about him.

A new Big Three for the Wizards?

Or a dynamic duo at center? Ian Mahinmi says the Wizards now have "probably one of the best one-two punches in the league at the center position."

Howard told 106.7 The Fan in July 2018 the "fans here in D.C. are gonna get the best version of myself."

"I’m looking forward to being here in D.C., I think this is gonna be a great opportunity for our team to be very successful," Howard said on Grant & Danny. "Playing with a great point guard, great shooting guard, a really good coach, and a really good bench and some very talented players. So I think we’re gonna have an unbelievable year, and for me it’s all about winning."

"I intend to dominate, and I intend to provide this team with great physicality and leadership on a different level," Howard said.

Well, things did not go to plan. At all.

Howard arrived at training camp with a back injury that bothered him for weeks and delayed his debut. After a Wizards defeat, an arena worker heckled him as he worked on free throws, yelling, "Brick!" 

Howard then had back surgery in November. He returned to do on-court work in February but tweaked a hamstring and that was that.

The Wizards meanwhile sputtered and sputtered and suffered humiliations and many injuries before collapsing to a 50 loss season. Head coach Scott Brooks called the year "a challenge."

High hopes in Howard's revitalization quickly faded. But that's all in the past now. 

Hopefully, for Wizards fans, the memory of those nine games he played in Washington will quickly fade, too.

Follow @BenKrimmel and @1067TheFan on Twitter.

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