Dwightmare II: Hawks' Howard is living down to his reputation

Dwight Howard, shown not playing in an elimination game. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

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Dwight Howard, shown not playing in an elimination game. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Know why Dwight Howard, who's 31, is on his fourth NBA organization? Stuff like this – getting stopped for driving 95 mph on the Perimeter at 2:06 a.m. on a day when his latest team was to play an elimination game ; being found to have a suspended registration and no auto insurance and then having his car towed.

One more time: Going 95 on 285 at 2:06 a.m. With what appeared to be Howard’s security team following in an SUV. (Doubtless that kept him from needing Uber post-tow.) Roughly 17 ½ hours before tipoff of an elimination game. Which the Hawks lost. In which Howard played no fourth-quarter minutes, about which he subsequently griped.

Oh, and there’s this: Dwight Howard’s uncle Paul is the Fulton County district attorney. (This happened in DeKalb, FYI.) Guessing someone in the family might have mentioned that you need insurance to drive in this state. (D. Howard did grow up here, right?)

Understand: Howard was not cited for driving under the influence. He was stopped for speeding. If every speeder in metro Atlanta were to disappear from the highways, the Perimeter could be reduced to one lane each way. I’m not trying to make this more than it is – really! – but this is yet another flashing indicator in a career that has seen a slew. Remind me again: Why did the Hawks sign this guy?

He’s no longer a great player. There are times you forget he’s on the floor. There were times in the Washington series the Hawks didn’t want him on the floor. But unless/until Paul Millsap re-ups, he’s the highest-salaried Hawk. He’s not the steady-going presence – not the player, either – that Al Horford was.

No, Howard is the guy the folks in Orlando will never forgive for putting the Magic through what became known as the Dwightmare. He’s the guy the Rockets let leave as a free agent, and a check of current events shows that Houston, with Clint Capela at center, improved from 41-41 to 57-27 and is still going in these playoffs.

Dwight Howard was once seen as one of his sport’s few indispensable men. He’s now easily dispensed with, unless you're the team – most recently the Hawks – that just spent $70.5 million over three seasons, two of which remain. He did not make them better. (He did make them better at rebounding.) They ranked 27th among 30 clubs in offensive efficiency. They slipped from 48-34 before him to 43-39 with him.

And, as has been the case four different places, he’s not the guy who’s going to calm any roiled waters. He’s only going to roil them more. (Google "Stan Van Gundy.") For all these reasons, he has no trade value.

I don’t know that Dwight Howard is a bad person, or even an especially bad driver. I do know that he has a now-indelible reputation as a bad fit, and he has lived down to that in his homecoming. And this latest bit, you must admit, was remarkably bad timing: Going 95 on 285 at 2:06 a.m. with a lapsed registration and no insurance on the morning of an elimination game. Holy mackerel.

And here Tony Ressler thought he only had to worry about finding a new GM .

From last month: It's playoff time, and Dwight Howard has had little effect.

From July 2016: I'm sorry, but I don't see a happy ending for Howard and the Hawks.