Dwight Howard is already a six-time All-Star and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, among many other accolades. But there’s at least one title he still covets.
“I want to become a closer,” Howard told FOX Sports Wisconsin. “The only way you get there is by getting the ball, and having coach have the confidence in giving me the ball.
“That’s how Kobe [Bryant] and the rest of the great fourth-quarter players got that way. It’s trial and error. When Kobe first got in the league, it took him a while to become the killer he is in the fourth quarter now. That’s because he went through that phase where he had to learn what shots to take and just get confidence in taking shots in the fourth quarter. That’s one thing that I want for myself, so I can become the guy who finishes games for my team. I want to be that guy whose team wants him to close games out for them. Coach just needs to have confidence in me.”
Howard leads the Magic this season with 20.6 points per game, but he’s had a few notable nights when the team’s gone away from him offensively in the fourth quarter. As Howard has slumped, so, too have the Magic, going just 7-8 in their last 15 games after a torrid 10-3 start to their season.
One notable roadblock to Howard becoming a fourth-quarter killer? His free-throw shooting. Howard is shooting 49.1 percent from the stripe this season, a career low.