Though the start of his Wizards career has been stalled due to a back injury, once Dwight Howard gets on the court with his new team it will quickly be clear that he's very different from Marcin Gortat, the guy he replaced.
That will be evident by his size, speed and leaping ability, likely all combined into one during alley-oop plays fed by John Wall. It will be clear by his shot-blocking skills and his prowess as a rebounder.
It may also be demonstrated by a noticeably larger role in the Wizards' offense.
Howard, an eight-time All-Star, is used to being a fairly important piece in his team's scoring attack, much more so than Gortat, who was relatively content with playing a complementary role.
Last year, Howard averaged 11.2 field goal attempts while playing with the Charlotte Hornets. He posted a 24.2 usage percentage, third on his team.
Gortat, meanwhile, averaged just 6.8 shots per game and recorded a 15.5 usage percentage. Believe it or not, his usage percentage was 12th on the 2018-19 Wizards.
Having a center more capable of scoring should, in theory, be a net positive for the Wizards. Though, there may be a domino effect by his presence and his demand for the ball.
Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris may be more affected than anyone. The Wizards want Porter, their most efficient player, to shoot more. Head coach Scott Brooks has said before how he likes Morris to be aggressive in attacking the rim rather than deferring to others and camping out on the three-point line.
Howard may alone change the Wizards' offense, but Porter and Morris believe the focus he will draw from defenses while in the post can only help them.
"His presence alone will help our team drastically. The type of respect he gets around the league as an athletic big coming down the middle, he's going to create a lot of attention," Porter said.
"The space on the floor is going to be very good. Using him in pick-and-roll situations is going to be good for us. Him rolling down the paint, it will be lobs or open threes all day. It's going to be interesting to play with him."
Morris said a larger role for Howard will only produce incremental differences in the offense. It is a fluid game and the main priorities will not change.
"I don't know how many shots he's used to, but the way we play, if he's open, he's gonna get the ball. We don't really talk about shot attempts. Our main scorer, which is Brad [Beal], is the only person we worry about getting a lot of shots," Morris said.
Brooks believes Howard will only help in creating open shots on the perimeter, and if there are more open looks to go around, then guys like Porter will naturally get a larger share of opportunities.
It is a fine line between deferring too often to others and simply being a good teammate by making the extra pass. Brooks just wants the ball to move faster and his players to speed up and down the court and the rest can fall into place.
"To me, unselfish basketball is the way to play. You just can't slow up the game to try to take care of one guy. I don't like that because that usually doesn't work out," Brooks explained. "But within the rhythm of the game, you can defer and you can keep making the extra pass. That's good. That's what we want. That's how we want to play."
Wall had an interesting and detailed take on how Howard can make life easier for Morris in particular. Wall noticed a problem for Morris last season that could now be alleviated.
"A lot of times when they were doubling Keef, it was coming from the center position. Now, you have a guy in Dwight that can finish above the rim and it's pick your poison," Wall said.
"Now, when he's posting up and they try to double-team him, he can just throw the ball right at the rim and if Dwight is there he's going to dunk it. If he misses it, it gives Dwight an opportunity [to rebound after a smaller player]."
Wall has used the phrase "pick your poison" often when describing how Howard can help the offense. He has cited Howard's ability to clean up mistakes as a lob-devouring security blanket. Wall clearly believes that will not only help him, the point guard, in the pick-and-roll, but also Morris who will often be going to work on the other side of the paint.
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