The Charlotte Hornets play Sunday against the Orlando Magic, the team that drafted center Dwight Howard No. 1 overall back in 2004.
Has Howard done enough in 13-plus seasons to be a lock someday for the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.? Howard’s coach for most of his eight seasons with the Magic, Stan Van Gundy, said recently that’s a no-brainer.
“It’s mind-boggling to me that there would be any debate there,” said Van Gundy, who now coaches the Detroit Pistons.
“The guy was first-team All-NBA for, I think, five straight years. Just go back and check how (few) people do that. The idea is when you play, are you the top guy at your position: There’s no question what Dwight has done is astounding,” said Van Gundy, who coached Howard from 2007 through 2012.
“He was three-time Defensive Player of the Year. He led the NBA in the same season in rebounding and blocked shots. It’s funny that there would even be a consideration” that he wouldn’t make it to the Hall.
Howard has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds each of his NBA seasons, and currently averages 14.4 points, 17.4 rebounds and two blocks in his first five games as a Hornet.
“Consider the (centers) who are in there,” Van Gundy said of Hall of Famers. “Go back and compare them to Dwight, and figure how you could possibly keep him out.
“Even what have been called his ‘down years’ over the past couple, most centers would give anything” to have those statistics.