Dwight Howard is imploding in Atlanta and nobody cares anymore
Did you notice that the Atlanta Hawks quickly fizzled out of the NBA playoffs and Dwight Howard is starting to pout?
You probably had bigger things to worry about, like deciding what socks to wear. All of which shows how far our old friend has fallen.
The Dwight Dramas in Orlando and Los Angeles and Houston were perpetual headline fodder. Now America doesn't care enough to care, and all Howard really has to show for his career is a trail of schadenfreude.
You know, that hard-to-pronounce term that means taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. Howard will probably retire as the NBA's all-time leading producer of such emotion.
He's so prolific the American Psychological Association should name a special strain after Howard –Dwightenfreude — and start group therapy sessions from coast to coast.
"Hello, my name is (Kobe B., James H., Any Magic Fan) and I'm a Dwight-a-holic. I can't get enough of his misery."
I have a mild case of Dwightenfreude, and I'm not particularly proud of it. We should want the best for people, and I can still remember that lovable 18-year-old puppy dog that showed up in Orlando.
Now he's a 31-year-old who has dogged it far too long. That's why anyone with Dwightenfreude shouldn't feel too guilty.
Psychologists say the feeling is more acceptable when the person in question brought the misfortune on themselves. Everyone except Howard would agree he's done that.
He just couldn't be happy in Orlando or L.A. or Houston. Now he's bummed with the Hawks, who signed him to a three-year, $70.5 million deal last summer.
Maybe they thought bringing Howard back to his hometown would inspire him to develop a mid-range jumper and hustle back on defense. Instead, the Hawks are paying premium dollars for a guy they're scared to play when it matters.
"I want to be out on the floor. I want to make a difference," Howard said in his exit interview with reporters. "I want to make an impact, and I can't do that on the bench."
He played just 16 of a possible 72 fourth-quarter minutes in the series against Washington. Ex-Superman didn't get off the bench at all in two of those fourth quarters.
Howard said he's "p----'' (think human bodily function) at how the Hawks are using him, but they don't really have a choice.
First, he still shoots free throws like a blind man wearing oven mitts. But more importantly, the game is passing him by.
Barring the return of Kareem and his sky hook, nobody is going to dump the ball down low and watch the center grind away. Offense is all about spacing and movement and firing 3-pointers without conscience.
Getting rid of the malcontent anchor clogging up the middle was the best thing that ever happened to Houston and James Harden. The Hawks must have been temporarily insane when they signed Howard, because he has become not much more than a glorified Marcin Gortat.
In fact, the battle of ex-Magic centers was pretty much a draw in the Atlanta-Washington series. You could even argue Gortat is more valuable to his team, since nobody ever questions his effort or accuses him of p-----g away his career.
ESPN polled front office executives and eight of them said the Hawks only hope is that the Knicks will take Howard off their hands. As morbidly entertaining as that would be, not even Phil Jackson would be dumb enough to make that trade.
So what we have here is a brewing Dwightmare 4.0. Welcome the club, Atlanta.