HOOP DREAMS:<br />
Which NBA Star Would You Build Your Team Around?
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better and natural born leadership. Averaging just shy of 20 points, 10 assists and 3 steals per game; CP3 has been everything the Clippers could imagine. Similar to an NFL Quarterback, stability at the point guard position enables a franchise to fill in the pieces around him perfectly. Paul is poised to lead “Lob City” into the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Dwight Howard, C Orlando Magic

Career Averages: 18.4 ppg 1.5 ast 13 reb 1 stl 2.2 blk

Three-Time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Four-Time All NBA First Team, Three-Time All NBA Defensive First Team, Six-Time NBA All-Star

Dwight Howard is the most dominant Center in the NBA since Shaquille O’neal. The 6’11 265lb big man exemplifies an anchor in a starting five having been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in three of his seven professional seasons, and is poised to earn a fourth honor at the conclusion of this year.

Similar to LeBron James, Dwight Howard possesses a freakish amount of athletic ability for a person of his stature. His skill-set enables him to control the paint, which has made things very difficult for his opponents. Howard has displayed his game-changing abilities since being selected first overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. D-12’s arrival from Southwest Christian Academy high school in Atlanta meant he’d have a lot of growing to do. He proved to be a very fast learner and was nicknamed “Superman,” after donning the iconic superhero’s attire in the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest. Dwight earned six All-Star selections in his first seven seasons, which translated into making the Orlando Magic a legitimate contender in the NBA. The 2008-09 season saw Superman reach new heights, as he averaged 21 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks in route to Orlando’s first NBA Finals appearance since 1995. Although the Magic fell short against the Lakers, they fought hard in each of the five games in the series.

While it’s difficult to argue Dwight’s impact on the basketball court, his attitude has been the center of controversy as of late. Amidst trade rumors and a front office dispute, Howard has seemed to turn 2012 into an ongoing awkward moment. With his days in Orlando coming to a near close, he should continue to impact wherever he lands in the future. Considering his unique on-court ability and somewhat diva-like attitude, would Dwight Howard be your choice for building an NBA franchise?

The Editor’s Pick:

Each of these players listed would make excellent selections to build an awesome franchise. With all things considered, age and durability are key components in this decision. Kobe Bryant (34 in August) and Dwayne Wade (30), were naturally eliminated from contention, which was difficult with Wade being my favorite player in the league. LeBron James would arguably be the natural selection in most debates like this; however his lack of killer instinct is what scares me. His 2011 Finals disappearance did nothing to dispel his critics who seem to think he isn’t built for the big game. Dwight Howard is one of the very few true Centers’ in the league. However, his current display of character is enough to steer away the most loyal of supporters.

Ultimately my decision came down to Chris Paul and Kevin Durant. Each of these players are unquestioned leaders, exude unflappable confidence and make everyone around them better. With all things considered, I’d have to give the edge to Kevin Durant. He is one of the few players that is almost guaranteed to give you 28-32 points per night, and won’t flinch if the game comes down to the final shot. Durant is also improving on the defensive end of the court, as he continues to develop into an all-around NBA player. At only 23 years of age, “The Durantula” has yet to hit his prime, which is very scary!

Honorable Mentions: Carmelo Anthony SF (Knicks), Dirk Nowitzki PF (Mavs), Deron Williams PG (Nets)