Tag:Orlando Magic
Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:49 am

Stan Van Gundy has some words on amateurism

By Matt Moore

Stan Van Gundy is not afraid to speak his mind. He's not bombastic or a braggard, he just has his opinions and would be happy to share them with you. His pragmatism and basic viewpoints actually harken back to Red Auerbach, in a way. Van Gundy was at the University of Miami this past weekend, dropping his daughter off for school, and was asked about the ongoing scandal there. Let's just say Van Gundy didn't exactly hold back. From the Miami Herald:
“The system is set up for everybody but the kids while pretending to be about the kids,” Van Gundy said. “Athletics and education should be separate. Colleges shouldn’t be farm systems. It doesn’t make any logical sense. But the schools don’t want to be blatantly in the situation of being professional sports even though they already are professional sports. They just want to disguise it, so they hide behind education. But, really, all you want is enough of your athletes to graduate so it looks like that’s what you care about. Anyone around sports knows it is all a bunch of bull [expletive].

“I am not calling college coaches or administrators hypocrites. I believe that, in general, they care about the kids and education. But the system is wrong. Being a farm system creates problems that are beyond the control of even the best and most well-meaning administrators of which [UM’s] Donna Shalala would be at the top of my list.”
via University of Miami scandal brings out hypocrisy on campuses - Dan Le Batard - MiamiHerald.com

Well, then. Don't hold back, SVG. Really let your feelings out. It's good to see Van Gundy taking a stand on the issue instead of deferring since it's part of the traditional basketball system. What gets overlooked in all the discussion is the fact that much of what goes on is exploitation. The reaction is to say they can't be exploited, they're getting a college education. But you can be exploited while still getting something in return, and in this case, an education that is barely existant in some cases and largely useless in a great deal of them doesn't exactly make things equal. But wait, there's more from Van Gundy. He's actually got a proposal for a solution.
“Let the schools decide whom they enroll and how — no entrance or eligibility requirements, how much the boosters want to pay them and whether or not they go to class,” he says. “There are two rules. You play only four seasons, and the upper age limit is 25. No other rules. Players who are paid must declare their income and pay taxes on it. If they don’t and get caught, then they have to deal with the IRS and instead of giving back the Heisman they risk going to jail. This drops the myth about amateurism and education. It allows players to get paid but puts it out in the open. Now people can stop hiding behind their idealism about the purity of college athletics and let you know what the school and alumni truly value. NCAA enforcement is the drug war. We’ve lost. Let’s find a different, more realistic approach.”
In essence, Van Gundy wants to call a spade a spade, which is pretty reasonable. The NBA is a lot of things, but it doesn't try and pretend to be something moral. It's a business at its core, and it acts accordingly. Look no further than the lockout for proof on that. 

Maybe if we start talking about the issues within the context of reality and not the moral ideal that isn't even ideal for most of the people involved in it, we can start to move towards some solutions. Call it the Calipari-Van Gundy approach. 

Half of you just started vomiting, didn't you?
Posted on: August 26, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 11:25 am

Dwight Howard hires free throw shooting coach

By Matt Moore

Dwight Howard shot a career high in free throw percentage last year at 59.6 percent. Getting past the fact that his career high was still below 60 percent, it's good that he made progress in what was considered to be his best year in the league. Granted, it was only a .4 percentage point improvement over the previous season and a .2 percentage point improvement over his previous best, but hey. Baby steps? Apparently Dwight doesn't think those baby steps took him quite far enough, so he's started what he should have started years ago. He's hired a free throw shooting coach. 

From the Orlando Sentinel:
In his quest to become a better free-throw shooter, Dwight Howard has turned to a man who bills himself as the "Shooting Surgeon General" and the "Free-Throw Master."

Howard is working with shooting coach Ed Palubinskas, an Australian sharpshooter who played in the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics and is the career free-throw percentage leader at LSU. Palubinskas has worked with Orlando Magic power forward Brandon Bass and also briefly worked with Shaquille O'Neal.
via Dwight Howard: Orlando Magic all-star Dwight Howard hires Ed Palubinskas to be his shooting coach - OrlandoSentinel.com

Palubinskas told the Sentinel that he will change Howard's numbers in one year. The idea here is that Howard will be a better student than Shaq. That's kind of interesting to note. Howard comes across as a willing student, having sought out Hakeem Olajuwon to improve his game. But Howard also took some of what Hakeem taught him and sought to disregard the rest, telling CBSSports.com last year that there was only so much Olajuwon could teach him since the game was so much different now. Free throw shooting obviously doesn't change, so it'll be interesting to see if Howard fully embraces Palubinskas' teaching or not. 

What's the real impact of Howard's free thows? Last year he missed 370 free throws. If he raised his percentage to the league average of 76.6 percent, that's over 155 more pointss per season, or, based on his 78-game season, nearly two points per game (1.9 exactly). Doesn't sound like much, right? Thing is, that would move him to 24.8 points per game, which is only .2 points behind Derrick Rose. It's worth it for Howard to just make the league average. If he were to become even beetter, the offensive impact would cover his still-less-than-excellent footwork and post moves. It's the quickest way to an MVP trophy for him, and would naturally help the Magic out as well. 

We'll see if it actually makes a difference, and how Palubinskas reforms his shooting, in form or function. 

Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:06 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:46 pm

Under Armour ad swipes at LeBron, Kobe, Dwight

Posted by Ben Golliverjennings-snake

Under Armour is a well-established player in some segments of the apparal market and they've been aggressively looking to expand their reach when it comes to basketball.

Their first power play was to corner the market on young, undersized, shoot-first point guards with street cred by signing Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats. When that failed to achieve world domination, the company opted for Plan B, which apparently is to volley shots at their rivals in hopes of getting their brand name out there in any way possible.

Their vehicle for achieving brand recognition is this understated spoken word rhyme/rap poetry video advertisement that takes subliminal jabs at Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and former Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson. James and Bryant are Nike athletes; Howard is with adidas; Iverson was the face of Reebok for the better part of a decade.

"We are not royalty," the ad begins. "We don't claim crown to a kingdom we haven't earned yet." 

This line, of course, is a jab at James, whose nickname is "King" and who has yet to win an NBA title.

"We don't represent the followers," the ad continues. "The ones who get bought, the Kings, the superheroes, or the snakes that get caught and wrought in something so fictional that athletes turn into actors, legacy reduced to a press conference concerning practice."

"Kings" references James again. "Superheroes" is a reference to Howard, whose nickname is "Superman" and who wore a cape while winning a Slam Dunk contest. "The snakes" is a reference to Bryant's nickname, the "Black Mamba". The press conference line, of course, recalls Iverson's infamous rant.  

In case you had any doubt about the intended targets or meaning of the words, Jennings uploaded a photo of himself to Twitter wearing an Under Armour t-shirt that reads, "Nobody likes a snake." The words appear in Lakers colors: purple and gold. 

This whole campaign has an obvious rap battle subtext feel. It's a David vs. Goliath tiff, as Jennings has essentially played one meaningful and memorable game in his NBA career -- the night he exploded for 55 points -- while his targets are all perennial All-Stars.

Really, this advertisement raises all the wrong questions. Which company is this for again? What's so bad about actually being an accomplished basketball player? Exactly how does a multi-channel marketing campaign entitled "Change Agents" represent a more authentic existence than the world inhabited by the game's brightest stars? Would the stars even care if Jennings is trying to make a buck off of them?

When the video fades to black, you're left picturing James, Bryant and Howard counting large piles of money, stopping briefly to dust each other's shoulders off. Oh well, I guess. At least we're talking about Under Armour for once.

A word of unsolicited advice: stunts don't sell sneakers for long.

Here's the Under Armour advertisement courtesy of YouTube user UAChangeAgents

Top image via Brandon Jennings on Twitter.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com and The Basketball Jones.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 3:32 pm

Legend vs. Star: Moses Malone vs. Dwight Howard

By Matt Moore

We live in an immediate society. The internet, social media, the ever-accelerating news cycle, everything means that the next 30 seconds is 10 times more important than the last 30 seconds regardless of what actually happened in the past 30 seconds. As a result, we lose perspective on what stands truly relevant from the past. The NBA is no exception. So in an attempt to merge the two worlds (since, as a blog, we love/hate/want to be BFFs within the next 30 seconds), we'll be bringing you a look at players past and present, in relation to one another. 

Previously: Isiah Thomas vs. Chris Paul | Larry Bird vs. Dirk Nowitzki | Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant

Next up: Moses Malone vs. Dwight Howard


In the history of MVPs in the NBA, Moses Malone gets lost most often. He entered the ABA at 19, and it took him some time to find his place after the merger. Then he detonated in his second year in Houston, and became an MVP force year in and year out. But just as he should have been really making his name for himself, Magic and Bird emerged. So now you've got Moses, notoriously not eloquent and  whose game was neither pretty nor flashy, trying to compete with two of the greatest college players of all time, entering the league. The result? The 80s are defined by Bird, Magic, and their rivalry, and Moses is overlooked. This despite Moses being a three-time MVP. Three times, the man won the MVP and there were a few more seasons when he would have been the appropriate choice.

Numbers don't tell the whole story, but in Moses' case, they're worth talking about. How about his first MVP season, 1978-1979, when he averaged 24.8 points and 17.6 rebounds in 41.3 minutes. Talk about carrying the load. Yet he only had a 23 percent usage rate that season. For comparison's sake, Derrick Rose had a 32.2 percent usage rate this past season. Malone shot 54 percent from the field that season (while taking only 16 shots a game) and 74 percent from the foul line. That's a crazy season. And it was only his fourth-highest scoring season. In 1981-1982, which was arguably his best statistical season, he scored 31.1 points per game, an unbelievable amount, and grabbed 14.7 boards per game, while shooting 52 percent. He made up nearly the entirety of that Rockets team. And yet, the lost in the first round.

But Moses is not one of the sad stories of players who were excellent then forgotten without rings. He was traded in 1982 to Philadelphia, joining Dr. J, Maurice Cheeks, and Andrew Toney in a championship run to help validate Doc's career. On a team with that much firepower, Moses averaged 24.5 points and 15.3 rebounds along with a steal and two blocks per game. In short, it was a magnificent season that netted him NBA Finals MVP honors as the Sixers swept the Los Angeles Lakers. Yeah, league rarely trumpets the feat in its eternal quest to promote the Lakers, but Magic and Kareem were swept in the Finals.

But those are only numbers. The truth is that Moses was lord of the blue-collar rebounding machines. Most of his work was done on the offensive glass. If Dennis Rodman is the best offensive rebounder of all time, Moses is not far behind. Of the top 10 seasons in offensive rebounding percentage, Rodman holds the first and third best, along with three of the top ten. Moses owns four. A good comparison for his work to modern day might actually be Zach Randolph. Moses had that same level of touch, the ability to lift the ball up through contact and ease it off the glass. The ball seemed trapped in a vortex swirling it down into the bucket when Moses layed it up. As important as Moses' size, strength, and work ethic were to his success, that level of touch that he mastered was equally important, and what sets him apart from so many big men offensively, including Dwight Howard.

That Moses has never had a book written about him is not unexpected, but no less a disappointment. In this age of raw big men wondering what it is people expect from them, Malone stands as the emblem everyone wants. He wasn't the tallest, or the most versatile. He simply dominated in every way imaginable and wasn't worried about his global brand, either.

And then, there's Dwight Howard.

The difference between the two can be seen in any number of ways, but maybe their approach on and off the court is the place to start. Howard is amazingly gifted public figure. He's drawn to the camera like a moth to flame. His commercial appeal is as wide as his shoulders. He takes to the media constantly to talk about what he feels are his team's strengths and weaknesses, does impressions of his coach, and is generally seen as a big kid. He's friendly, loveable, has a good clean Christian image, and mostly fun-loving. He's the anti-Moses in most ways.

And on the floor, Howard's a different beast as well. Howard is likely the better defensive player, his defensive ratings cast a glimpse at that. Furthermore, Howard's superior athleticism gave him a different impact in terms of physically dominating his opponents. And in terms of overall impact, no player in the league at this moment impacts the defensive end of the floor the way Howard does. That was his biggest stake to the MVP thise season, even if it was ultimately futile. Howard made the most impact when you factor both sides of the floor.

Howard made his first Finals when he was 24, Moses when he was 25. Howard has been a part of a contending team that hasn't been able to get over the top, just like Moses' Houston teams. We'll try and spare Magic fans from expanding on this comparison to avoid the implication that he has to move on to win a championship. Howard has been a prominent face of the league for the past three seasons. Whether that's due to his dunk contest participation, the increase of media exposure, or his superior play is hard to determine. But examining the impact both in terms of wins and statistically, it's difficult to put Howard on the same level.

This past season was Howard's best season, from most accounts. From my perspective, the only real difference in Howard's game was an increase in usage. Howard's field goal percentage actually dropped this past season, which can be a career-high in usage. But if his game had improved that much, wouldn't his field goal percentage at least have been equal to the previous year, which actually was his best season? Howard's impact at both ends of the floor was largely the same, outside of adding a mid-range jumper, which is like putting a surfer decal on a mack truck.

Howard's best season saw him put up 21.9 points and 13.5 rebounds while shooting 59 percent from the floor (better than Moses' best overall season, we should note), with 27 percent usage. The numbers don't match up well with Moses, but there's still time. The biggest difference is touch. Assuming Howard is slightly better overall defensively, there is a gaping chasm when compared Malone on offense. That touch we discussed earlier? That's the biggest missing component. Howard shot 59 percent from the field last season, and yet you're still left wondering how much higher that would be if he had the ability to lay the ball in like Malone did. Or if he had Malone's footwork. Or versatility. But perhaps those are unfair comparisons. After all, the facts are that at 25, Howard shot better than Malone from the field. And Howard and Malone both had usage rates of 27 percent at this point in their career. So if that's the case, where's the big gap between them offensively?

You know where: The stripe.

Howard is either incapable or unwilling to raise his free throw percentage to an even decent level. The result is that Howard shot 112 more free throws in his seventh season than Moses did, and made 63 fewer. It will continue to be a thorn in Howard's offensive side until he can convince opponents that fouling him is not a viable strategy. Maybe Howard is just waiting for the fans to cheer loud enough for the ball to go in. (HT: Twitter.)

The surprise there is that Howard was a better rebounder at this point in his career than Moses was. Howard collected 21.8 percent of all rebounds last season compared to Moses' 20.3. So while Moses had a higher rebounding total, the advanced stats will tell you that Howard actually collected them at a better rate.

Still, Moses is, as expected, better overall. But maybe that was because of where Moses grew to be after this point in his career Howard is at. And that has to excite Magic fans and NBA fans alike. If Howard can improve in a few areas, work on some footwork, and keep rebounding at his current pace, he's got a shot at equaling Malone statistically in a few areas. That of course will not make up for the ring, but it might help get him there. One interesting difference, while Howard was a better overall rebounder than Malone was at this point in their careers, Malone was better at offensive rebounding by a considerable margin, 16 percent offensive rebound rate for Malone vs. 12 percent for Howard. Imagine if Howard improved in two key areas, offensive rebounding, where he's already a beast, and free throw percentage? 

Howard would be a tall, athletic freak able to create multiple opportunities for himself and create more points when sent to the line. That might be enough to make up the gap in offensive production, even if he never learns a great set of post moves from Olajuwon, improves his footwork, or gets a killer fadeaway. In short, there are ways Howard can surpass Malone without ever improving his touch.

The future's wide open for Dwight Howard. He's on the cusp. Whether he gets there is up to him. One thing's for sure. If he does, there will be more said about it than there was about Moses, and that's a crime.  

All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 3:24 pm

Dwight Howard plays point and goes coast-to-coast

Posted by Royce Young

I guess Dwight Howard's been working out with Stan Van Gundy a little lately. Because somebody's got some handles.

At an event recently, Howard, being the character he is, found himself playing point guard. And instead of just dribbling up and dishing off, Howard decided to go all Derrick Rose on everyone and fly coast-to-coast for a furious dunk. Howard's been spending quite a bit of time practicing in the post, specifically working with Hakeem Olajuwon. Well, maybe he's had it wrong all along. Maybe he should've been working with Magic Johnson.

But here's the thing about Howard's move: It was pretty stinking good. A little dribble hesitation, stutter-step and a good bolt to the basket. I'm not going to sit here and say that Howard needs to actually explore this part of his game in the NBA, but then again, why not? It's sort of a gag thing for big men to bring the ball up and pretend to be John Stockton, but if Erick Dampier or Roy Hibbert is on him at the top of the key, couldn't Howard use his handle and first step to get to the bucket? Or is that totally unreasonable?

Clearly the defense in this specific situation wasn't near as intense as it would be in an NBA game, but if a 6-11 guy with the power and leaping ability of Howard can put the ball on the floor effectively, shouldn't that be something the Magic take advantage of? He wants to be a complete player? Keep working that post stuff and after that, polish up the point skills too.

Then you'll have a real Superman.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 2:41 pm

Dwight Howard ain't mad at ya, Orlando

By Matt Moore

Dwight Howard layed out some criticism this week towards Magic fans about how loud the arena is in the regular season. In the face of Howard's upcoming free agent after the 2012 season (you know, if there is one), combined with the fact that Orlando fit the bill on the new arena and the fact that they really have been one of the better crowds for a playoff team over the past four years, it didn't really go right. 

Howard's not really the "I don't care what people think about me" type, or at least it seems that way from the massive amount of exposure he pursues. And that's not a bad thing, too often the reckless loner is a tired act that only excuses borish, rude behavior. It's a cliche in and of itself in bucking cliches. Regardless, Howard contacted the Orlando Sentinel, who he and his coach think are too hard on him anyway, to try and clear up the matter and difuse any problems from the Orlando Magic faithful. 

In an effort to make sure Howard wasn't taken out of context, they printed his full statement. Excuse the heavy blockquote, we want to make sure Howard's comments are taken in full: 
“I want to clear it up. In no shape, form or fashion am I criticizing our fans. My whole statement was when the season’s around, and the playoffs come, it’s a different atmosphere. And if you want to win a championship, we all gotta act as champions. That’s players, coaches, and even our city. The city can win a championship, especially a city like ours. We need to come together, and not just for a couple games and the playoffs. If we’re together all season, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can win a championship. I will know that I have my city behind me.“

It wasn’t me criticizing any of my fans because I appreciate all the people that come and sell out the arena. Just know there’s a difference, and you can put this on there or not, I just know there’s a difference between the regular season and the playoffs. There’s no difference between the regular season, playoffs, whatever… I’m going to give 100 percent every time I step on the floor. Like I said, most people don’t get but one opportunity to see their favorite player. People who have season tickets, they get to see them play whenever, but most people only have one opportunity, so if you don’t go out there and play as hard as you can for the one person that may not ever see you again, they will be disappointed. So I go out, play hard every night. This city’s been supporting me, and I want to show them how I feel about them by playing hard every night.”
via Dwight Howard wants to clear air with Orlando Magic fans – Orlando Magic BasketBlog – Orlando Sentinel.

Setting aside the season ticket holders comment (don't they pay for each and every chance to see the players give 100 percent, not to try and hope they catch that effort on a few out of the 41?) because that really is needless nitpicking (which I just did), there's a quick solution here. If Howard wants to set aside any bad feelings about his relationship with the fans? Sign an extension. Stay in Orlando. Everyone will love you then, no matter what you do.

Somehow, we don't see that happening.

Howard at least did care enough to make the statement, which does count for an awful lot. But it should be noted that this follows a similar pattern to all the other departures we've seen, with small pockets of conflict between the player and fans (like Nuggets fans booing Melo last season). Not to say that this points towards anything, just that it's part of a larger pattern. Maybe he'll buck the trend and stay in Orlando. That would certainly give the fans something to cheer about.  
Posted on: August 9, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 8:41 pm

Earl Clark agrees to deal with Zhejiang of China

Posted by Ben Golliverearl-clark-magic

An NBA player is heading to China to play professionally next season. This one isn't a "stop the presses" signing, but it certainly could be a sign of things to come.

Yahoo! Sports reports that free agent Earl Clark, a seldom-used forward who most recently played for the Orlando Magic, is headed to China.
Orlando Magic free agent Earl Clark has reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Zhejiang of the Chinese Basketball Association, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The deal will pay Clark in the “high six figures,” one source said.
HoopsWorld.com confirms the deal and both sites report that Clark will not have an NBA out clause in his contract.

Clark made more than $2 million last season but, in a somewhat unusual move, didn't have his rookie option picked up. He's a long, athletic player but hasn't found much court time in the NBA, averaging 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game in his two years in the league. 

What's most interesting here is that Clark is just 23 years old. He was selected in the 2009 NBA Draft lottery by the Phoenix Suns and was a toss-in in last December's blockbuster trade that sent Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat to the desert for Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu

That Clark was willing to settle for a deal that will pay him less than half of what he made last season and doesn't include the flexibility that comes with an NBA opt out was no small decision. It speaks to his lack of leverage and the uncertainty in the marketplace. His only motivation to settle for such a deal is because it is "better than nothing" and could very well be better than what's out there for him a month from now. Clark is still an NBA-quality talent but he, or anyone in his situation, needs the money.

That's more than enough motivation for someone wondering where his next paycheck is coming from to take quick action. And it's more than enough reason for NBA fans to get another shiver down their backs, wondering if the 2011-2012 season will ever take place.
Posted on: August 8, 2011 8:41 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 9:10 pm

Dwight Howard is 'upset' by quiet Magic fans

Posted by Ben Golliverdwight-howard

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard took a step down a dark and dangerous path over the weekend.

A little more than three months after the Magic were ousted by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, a major disappointment considering the team had advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals the two previous seasons, Orlando's All-Star big man took a swipe at the Amway Center faithful for not doing their part to create a winning environment.

The Orlando Sentinel details a series of tweets in which Howard said he is seeking a more vocal crowd during the regular season.
Howard wrote back, “that upsets me cuz I don’t wait till the playoffs to play hard. I give y’all my best everynite. Y becuz some people don’t get a chance to be at everygame. And I want them to always remember the nite they saw me play. So. I play for y’all. I feed off the fans. ESP at home. It’s a different atmosphere in the playoffs at the arena. That same atmosphere should be during the season.”

If you’re not adept at Twitter-speak, Howard said he plays hard every night because he wants every fan to remember the time he or she saw Howard play. Because he’s bringing his best every night, he wants fans to bring playoff intensity every night.

This year, Howard didn’t feel like the fans brought it all the time.

A few notes for reference.

First, during the 2011 NBA season, Amway Center averaged nearly 19,000 fans per home game. The Magic actually played to 102.6% of the stadium's capacity, according to numbers published by ESPN.com. That number was good for fourth in the league, trailing only the Dallas Mavericks (NBA Champions), Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference Finalists) and Portland Trail Blazers (home to the craziest NBA fans, period).

Second, the Magic finished with a home record of 29-12, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. The only three teams with better home records were the East's top three seeds: The Miami Heat, the Bulls and the Boston Celtics.

In other words, every ticket is sold and the noise of the arena is not impacting wins and losses in any stunningly quantifiable way. The Sentinel suggests that perhaps the layout of the new Amway Center, opened in 2010, makes the arena sound quieter because of the location of luxury boxes. A reasonable hypothesis.

Another reasonable hypothesis? Howard should definitely not take another shot, or anything that can be perceived as a shot, at Magic fans. It's unbecoming for any player set to make $18 million next season to contrast the quality of his performance with the engagement of the crowd's, but it's even worse when that athlete has a track record of griping and has the entire city hanging on his free agency decision next summer. Howard should have learned his lesson when he took unnecessary shots at the Orlando media back in May and he should understand that it might be a wee bit difficult for fans to cheer at maximum volume level when they are chewing on their fingernails, anxious that the one shining star on the roster might decide to pack it up and move out of town.

Unsurprisingly, the fan reaction to Howard's tweets was swift and negative.

"Cry baby – play better and you’ll have better attendance," one commenter wrote. "Sounds like Dwight is continuing to line up excuses why he’s leaving," another said. 

Nothing good -- ever -- comes from blaming ticket-paying fans. Howard should turn around and run the other direction as quickly as possible. Otherwise it's bound to get even uglier.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com