Howard took two 3-point shots last season and missed both. For his 13-year career, Howard is 5-of-56 from 3-point range.
There were many games last season, including in the playoffs, when Howard was not on the floor in the fourth quarter as the Hawks looked for more floor spacing to generate 3-point shots. It was an issue and one Howard was not pleased with during his exit interview following the Hawks’ first-round playoff series loss to the Wizards.
“I think we have been left out to a certain extent,” Howard said of the traditional center. “The way the game has evolved, it’s really tough for traditional centers to get great playing time and be effective. So, we do have to change our game. … For us to stay in this league and be successful, we’ve got to be able to handle the basketball. We’ve got to be able to shoot the ball. Be able to play pick-and-roll against some of these guards.
“We have to be able to change our game or less we are going to be extinct.”
Howard related a story of guarding the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol this season to emphasis the difference in the league.
“I’m used to guys setting a screen and rolling to the basket. I get up and pressure the ball. I turn around to go to the basket and Marc is over there. By the time I turn around, he’s shooting the 3. Coach is like ‘Dwight!’ I’m like ‘Coach!’ It’s tough to guard, but that’s the way the game is moving forward.
“I came in guarding (Shaquille O’Neal), Alonzo Mourning, Jermaine O’Neal, all these big guys who want to wrestle. I’m used to wrestling. Now, I’ve got to get used to playing against guys who don’t want to wrestle, they want to get to the 3-point line.
New Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said last week he believes there is still a place for Howard with the team.